The National Human Rights Commission says 90 percent of women awaiting trial in prisons across the country are either nursing mothers or pregnant.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, made this known when he received the National President, National Council of Women Societies, Mrs. Gloria Shoda, in his office in Abuja on Monday.
Prof. Angwe said the facts were derived from the commission’s recent prison audit in the country.
He said the commission needed the collaboration of the NCWS to provide an immediate intervention in this regard.
“In our prisons today, we have a lot of nursing mothers who are being locked up with their children and are nursing these children in the prison cells.
“We also have instances where such women who are still carrying babies in prison are also pregnant.
“It is also sad to note that more than 90 per cent of these nursing mothers are still awaiting trial. These are women that should have been released on bail while awaiting their trial.
“But they are kept there in prison with their children who are made to serve prison terms when their mothers are not yet convicted,” Angwe said.
Angwe said that the commission was particularly concerned because there was no amount of compensation that would be given to such a child or even the mother that would be commensurate with the hardship suffered.
“One therefore wonders how in a situation where such mothers are eventually discharged as innocent citizens, how much compensation can be given to a child who is made to pass through the conditions that we presently have in our prisons.”