RELEASE YOUTHS FROM PRISON THEY NEED HELP- DIRECTOR PRISONERS RIGHT PUAH OMOKHUALE The Executive Director, Prisoners’ Rights Advocacy Initiative, Ahmed Adetola- Kazeem has condemned the declining state of prisons in Lagos, especially the Badagry Prison. In a letter to the State governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Mr. Kazeem stated on the 18th of August, 2017 that despite the fact that prisons have been funded and overseen by the Federal Government (FG), prison inmates of the state were jailed because of state offenses. In his own words “The situation in our Lagos prisons, especially the Badagry prison is very bad. The outbreak of communicable diseases and infection is a very normal occurrence in the prison. “The prison is overcrowded, no ventilations, no mosquito nets, no toilet facilities, even space for sports and recreations are nowhere, bad vehicles to convey inmates to court and an there are no ambulances to convey them to hospitals.” He added. According to Adetola- Kazeem, the recent news of the release of 142 underage persons across prisons in Lagos by the Chief Judge is one that came with mixed feelings. In the voice of Adetola- Kazeem, “What is to be done in stemming the tide of underage imprisonment? Your Excellency, we commend your efforts in building a beautiful state, there is a growing feeling in the public space that this is being achieved at the expense of the poor and the vulnerable”. He also noted that 70 per cent of the Badagry Prisoners are arrested for hawking or other related offences and they were sentenced to prison terms. “We are really fighting hard to put efforts in place in collaboration with the government, to ensure that these underage prisoners are soundly restored and empowered so that they can stop hawking?” “Majority of the boys who hawk on the streets are highly vigorous considering the speed with which they chase moving vehicles. “Am sure that if they are nurtured, properly groomed and given monthly stipends, they would not only leave the street, but win laurels for the state and country in major competitions,” he added.