Ohanenye mulls mobile courts to free unjustly incarcerated women

Minister of women affairs Uju-Kennedy Ohanenye says the ministry is working with stakeholders for the establishment of mobile courts to get justice for women incarcerated for years in correctional facilities without trial.

The minister said this in an interview on the sidelines of a women’s empowerment conference in Abuja on Tuesday to mark the 2024 International Women’s Day.

Ms Ohanenye said many women awaiting trial over minor offences have been abandoned in correctional facilities for years with no hope of getting justice.

She added that establishing the mobile court would help such women and aid in decongesting the correctional facilities.

“Remember when I came in as minister and they said women were suffering? I had to go to the prison yard. I saw many women abandoned in prison for over four years, awaiting trial over minor issues like owing debt of N10,000, N15,000, and N20,000.

“Out of what I said before on inhumanity to humans, they just drop them there because they feel they don’t have anybody to speak for them. We don’t want that to continue to happen.

“That’s why I was looking for a mobile court to get these women released, and I went straight to Mr. President and asked for a mobile court. Mr President said go ahead and gave me a nod,” she said.

According to the minister, she contacted the attorney general of the federation and state governors to collaborate.

“I wrote to the governors’ forum, and I was called to make a presentation, and it was approved, and the consent letter was given to me. I need to go now and ensure it’s implemented in all the states,” Ms Ohanenye explained.

She said despite some stumbling blocks, she was determined to accomplish the mission.

“This is something that could allow our fellow women to breathe; this is something that can decongest the prisons. When people said it’s impossible to have a mobile court, I said it will be possible because this is something that will protect the lives of women and children,” the minister said.

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