The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) said on Wednesday has commenced legal action to secure the release seafarers in detained across the Nigerian prison
President General of MWUN , Comrade Adewale Adeyanju disclosed during a chat with maritime journalists in Lagos.
This is sequel to alarm by the Nigerian Prisons Service recently on the number of inmates languishing at the Ikoyi Prisons in Lagos.
A Deputy Controller of Ikoyi Prisons (DCP) Tolu Ogunsakin, had said that the facility built for convicts in 1955 with a capacity for 800 inmates, presently had 3,138 prisoners out of which 2,644 were awaiting trial.
He urged the government to introduce parole system, community services, accelerated hearings, fines and warnings among others in order to help decongest the facility.
Before now, the concerned Seafarers led by National President, the Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, Comrade Matthew Alalade had made effort to secure detained seafarers on three occasions at the Ikoyi prisons.
Adeyanyu who lauded the initiatives of routine visit to prison and moves for seafarers to regain their freedom, noted that the two unions have mapped out strategies to further engage a sound lawyer that could assist for the innocent sailors to regain their freedom.
Apparently worried about members in detention, the MWUN boss reiterated that the union would ensure that innocent seafarers regain their freedom but added that such moves would be based squarely on registered members of the unions.
Hesaid that there are some of the sailors who embarked on illegal activities at sea and at the end got caught in the process.
He added that “Initially, the Merchant Navy did not carry us along on this issue but fortunately for us, I met the President in Singapore and we discussed about the it.
“The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) also raised the issue of Nigeria seafarers in prison and i told my big brother that we will address the issue when we get back to Nigeria to find a lasting solution to release those that are Innocent.
“However, I will like to inform you that the Merchant Navy and MWUN have decided to synergize for ratings and officers in prison to regain their freedom through the help of a lawyer.
“By next week we will hold a joint meeting, then fix a date for us to visit the facility in Ikoyi.
As the Ikoyi facility, Comrade Adeyanju also maintained that the union had decided to also visit other prisons across the country to know the conditions of seafarers as part of efforts to make case for those who are unlawfully detained.
He added that the joint visitation would be an eye opener for the unions because according to him, the unions must be careful in this process to identify who their members are as a way of seeking justice.
“Our visit to the prison is basically to find out if truly they are Innocent and to also identify those who are our members,” he stated.
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