House Probes Unlawful Release Of 197 Drug Convicts
ABUJA, March 14, (THEWILL) - The House of Representatives Thursday mandated its joint committee on justice, interior, drugs and narcotic and financial crimes to investigate the alleged release of 197 drug convicts and also determine the statistics of all those prosecuted and convicted by the NDLEA from its inception to date and where they served their terms.
The decision emanated from the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Hassan Saleh (PDP, Benue), under matters of urgent national importance.
In his lead debate, Saleh said based on a report of the committee set up by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which was headed by Justice Gilbert Obayan (rtd.) in 2006, about 197 persons convicted for drug trafficking offenses are said not to be serving their prison terms.
"The committee's report out of 143 drug convicts for the year 2006, 96 of them were never brought to the prison while another set of 101 drug convict for the year 2005 were also not taken to the prison bringing the total to 197," he said.
According to him, persons who were all alleged to have been lawfully prosecuted by the NDLEA and convicted by the court of law have been unlawfully released from prison thereby undermining the nations criminal system.
He revealed that this has become a common practice for many of our high profile detainees and convicts to pretend that they are ill so that they could be allowed to be taken to hospitals outside the prisons whereas in most cases they are in their homes or in a tastefully furnished hospitals wards.
The lawmaker expressed concern that the Ministry of Justice has failed, "neglected and refused to implement the finding of the Justice Gilbert's committee report on the serious infraction on our criminal justice system."
When put to vote, the House presided over by Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal subsequently ruled that the joint committee undertake the assignment.