Minister seeks mobile courts to free unjustly incarcerated women


Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye

By Gift Bayo

The Minister of Women Affairs, Uju-Kennedy Ohanenye, has said 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 empowerment conference to mark the 2024 International Women’s Day, on Tuesday in Abuja.

The conference, organised by Arise Monalisa Foundation in collaboration with One Percent International Management Services Limited, discussed issues affecting women, young female entrepreneurs and children.

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

She said that the establishment of 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 the prison for over four years awaiting trial over minor issues like owing debt of N10,000, N15,000, 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.

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

According to the minister, she had contacted the Attorney General of the Federation and state governors to collaborate in the endeavour.

“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,” Ohanenye added.

She said in spite of some stumbling blocks, she was determined to get the mission accomplished.

“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. (NAN)

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