The situation of pre-trial detainees in Nigeria is often dire with the most marginalized rarely able to pay for the “three B’s”—bribe, bail, and the barrister. As a result, people are left languishing in prison for extended periods.
The first iteration of the project, Reform Kuje, sought to support the Government of Nigeria to achieve a significant reduction in the size of the pre-trial detention population in Kuje Custodial Center. The second iteration, Reforming Pre-Trial Detention in Nigeria (RPDN), seeks to replicate and expand support to the Government of Nigeria provided under Reform Kuje to institutionalize a system of detainee registration, representation, and processing that demonstrates rule of law, respect for human rights, and duty of care for victims, the accused, and their families. Applying lessons learned from Reform Kuje, under RPDN the Partners team will continue successful interventions piloted in Kuje Custodial Center and replicate these successes at Keffi Custodial Center in Nasarawa State. PartnersGlobal and our consortium partners New-Rule LLC, Partners West Africa Nigeria (PWAN), and the Network of University Legal Aid Institutions in Nigeria (NULAI) have adopted a three-pronged approach to this project. We are focused on capacity building to improve case management, establishing strategic partnerships to bring access to pre-trial detainees at Kuje and Keffi Custodial Centers, and leveraging technology and communications tools to raise awareness of available resources within Nigerian civil society.
Our team connects Nigerian legal professionals and students with our U.S. partners at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and Georgetown University Law Center to further strengthen the technical capacity of participants and promote cross-cultural exchange of best practices and experience.
Ultimately, the project aims to improve correctional center conditions, enhance respect for human rights, and decrease opportunities to radicalize the population in Kuje Correctional Center. As a pilot in Kuje, phase one of the project generated positive impact of such reforms and continues working to promote further changes in the Nigerian criminal justice system at large.