A Non-govermental Organization, Breath of Freedom Foundation (BFF), has said that its mandate is centered on ensuring prison inmates and wrongly detained persons enjoy sound health and get expedite access to freedom.
This was made known over the weekend when the Foundation’s team and volunteers carried out a free medical exercise on Suleja female inmates.
Speaking at the event Mr Abdulrauf Tijani Aboki, a legal practitioner, who represented the Chairman Board of Trustees, Mr Tony Ekwoaba, said the NGO’s mandate is aimed at promoting inmate rehabilitation and release.
Aboki said the organisation carries out its mandate through reforms, skills, trainings and capacity building, medical outreach, human right monitoring, care and support services.
According to him, the organisation is committed to promoting quality healthcare for inmates.
What informed the decision is the passion to ensure that the prison is reformed.
We are stepping in to provide free legal and medical counselling to inmates. We want to join hands with the government to ensure the health of the inmates and their general welfare is in order.
On his part, the head medicals of the NGO, Dr David Ikeonwu, said it was imperative that government invest more in the health of inmates.
One of the commonest things we see here is itching and vagina discharge, which is as a result of poor hygiene. That is something that need to be curbed, looking at the environment as well, it needs to be improved upon, the well-being of the inmates need to be given so much consideration. It is to this effect that we have decided to collaborate with government efforts to ensure that the inmates are in good health. One of the commonest things that happen to females is Urinary Tracks Infection (UTI), this is as a result of the toilets they use. If we could create more rest rooms for them, that will as well help them, he said
Ikeonwu said the NGO sets out to teach them how to use proper hygiene. Ms Iyaye Rukayya Ibrahim, the Head of Counselling of the organisation, said a lot of issues are centred on domestic affairs where the family of the husbands or their families bring their women to prison.
Most of the women I have attended to, are here based on issues surrounding their late husbands, and then the husband put the wife as next of kin and then the family of husbands bring them here.
It is quite heart-breaking. We try to see how we can do medical outreach in terms of mental and emotional health, we have team of lawyers who help see to it that inmates brought in here for frivolous offences gets justice.
I think the law needs to be changed, if a person puts one as next of kin, that person should be next of kin. There should be a standard justice system that should be in place. The Nigerian justice system has failed women woefully. It may not be a gender thing but traditional, some people are here on frivolous cases and that should not be so,” she said.
On his part Bar. Saifullah Bello, Head Legal and Secretary of the Board of Trustees, ably represented by one of the volunteer lawyers, said the foundation seeks to release poor prisoners by repaying their debt through donations and will also collaborate with the government, relevant individuals and organizations to ensure unjustly detainees and inmates, if not charged to court and tried accordingly, are released.