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Paying for the sins of parents in Nigerian prisons


Kids whose parents are on death row live in the prisons and are denied basic amenities




Children of prison inmates in Nigeria have been denied their fundamental human rights as they are unable to access basic amenities.

Joy Bob-Manuel, the Director-General of the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, on Tuesday in Abuja, said some of the children of prison inmates on death row live within the prisons and are restricted from receiving visitors, they don’t go to school and they lack basic amenities.

 “The law actually is that as mother you should breastfeed and bond with your child and that is why they allow those children to stay there, breastfeed, bond and the next step is for a relative to come,” she said. “But when a criminal issue is at stake, a lot of Nigerians don’t want to associate with that prisoner or that offender and they abandon them. Part of our mandate, when we visit prisons is to see things for ourselves; when we go to those prisons that house women, we take note of those who have children.”

She said that pressure needed to be put on welfare offices which were supposed to be in charge of the issue, adding that Nigerian children, even the offspring of inmates, were entitled to good education and health care.

 “We will look into it with social care givers like welfare offices who should be on top of this issue and also raise our voice to get the Ministry of Women Affairs to also look into that issue,” she said. “And we have homes for children who have been abandoned, so that they can get adopted in future.

The real problem is that the relatives don’t come and then we have the additional problem of Nigeria that adequate facilities are never there for schools, for things that a child should be doing at two years and three years. So I think we should add more voice to the social welfare to do their job and take such children to where they should be.’’

Speaking on the same issue, Grace Dashiel, the National President, Association of Orphans and Vulnerable Children, said that some children born under prison conditions died in the prisons before help from concerned groups could reach them.

She blamed this on a lack of synergy between the Nigerian Prisons Service and homes where such children could receive care.

 “We are agitating for the government to look beyond orphaned children by considering the plight of children who are born in prisons in the country and are left to roam about without care and attention,” she said. “In cases where such families cannot be contacted or refuse responsibility for the children, the prisons should allow interest groups, such as our organisation to put the children in homes.’’

Culled from the Daily Times

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