Reps urge NPS, women affairs ministry to cater for babies born in prisons

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The House of Representatives yesterday at its plenary session directed authorities of the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) and the Ministry of Women Affairs to make provisions for the feeding and welfare of babies born and living in prisons with their incarcerated mothers.

The House, following a resolution on a motion which came under matters of urgent public importance titled “Call for improvement of the living conditions of babies born and living with their mothers in prisons throughout the federation,” also called on the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria to help in ensuring speedy trial of pregnant women and nursing mothers in jail awaiting trial.

The parliament further mandated its committees on Interior, Women Affairs and Social Development to monitor compliance and report back to the chamber for further legislative action.

Leading debate on the motion, its sponsor and member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Omosede Igbinedion representing Ovia North-East/South-West of Edo State, said a report by the African Union on the Rights and Welfare of the Nigerian Child for 2013, stated that a large number of children live in Nigerian prisons and detention centres throughout the federation along with their imprisoned mothers.

She said that nursing a baby could be emotionally stressful both for the mothers and the babies since many of the prisons lacked basic facilities to cater for the female prisoners with their babies behind bars.

expressed concern that toddlers have become a common sight in Nigerian prisons because relations of many female inmates hardly bother to show up to check on them as some female prisoners go to jail with their children if they are too young to be left alone and if there is nobody willing to take care of the child.



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