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Underage imprisonment, sign of a broken society

Nigeria is a cruel place to live in, a minefield for both adults and minors. Some minors, who were released from the Badagry Prisons, Lagos, on August 1, have discovered this bitter truth. Many of them were locked up for years on flimsy grounds before they were mercifully set free by Olufunmilayo Atilade, the Chief Judge of Lagos State.

Their tribulation is a sign of a broken society that needs to search deeply on how to reform vulnerable child offenders.

In total, Atilade granted 80 minors amnesty, telling them to “go and sin no more.” The beneficiaries are just at the Badagry Prisons alone. It means there may be other minors languishing hopelessly behind bars across the country. A 2013 country report by the United States estimated that “6,000 children are locked up in Nigeria’s notorious jails and detention centres.” Unfortunately, nothing much is being done to reverse the noxious trend.

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