The vast scale and chronic nature of the human rights violations in the world’s prisons have long been of concern to the United Nations and other International bodies1 among the principal international human rights documents clearly protecting the rights prisoners include: the International convention Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention against torture, The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of prisoners; The Basic Principles for the Treatment of offenders

            These documents prohibit torture, cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment without exemption or derogation. Article 10 of the ICCPR provides that all persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, also the reform and socials re-adaptation of prisoners must be the essential aim of imprisonment.
            The basic principles for the treatment of prisoner declares: except for those limitations that are demonstrated necessitated by the fact of incarceration all prisoners shall retain the human rights and fundamental freedoms set out in the universal declaration of Human Rights, where the state concerned is a party. The international covenant on civil and Political Rights and the Optional Protocol thereto, as well as such other rights as are set out I the United Nations Covenants shall apply. In 1992, the United Nations Human Rights Committee stressed that the obligation to treat persons deprived of their liberty with dignity and humanity is a fundamental and universally applicable rule, not dependent on the material resources available to a state party. The committee stated that persons deprived of their liberty shall not be subjected to any hardship or constraint other than that resulting from the deprivation of liberty. Respect for the dignity of such persons must be guaranteed under the same conditions as for that of free persons. Persons deprived of their liberty enjoy all the rights set forth in the subject to the restrictions that are unavoidable in a close environment.2 
            These international documents clearly reaffirm that prisoners retain fundamental human rights which are binding on countries to the extent that the rules set out in then explicate the broader standards contained in human rights treaties. In Mukong v Cameroon3 it was stated that the minimum requirements regarding floor space. Sanitary facilities, provisions of food must be observed even if economic or budgetary considerations may make compliance with these obligations difficult.
            States therefore must have a positive obligation towards persons who are particularly vulnerable because of their status as persons deprived of liberty.
            There are several other international bodies4 which add flesh to the human rights protection of prisoners; providing guidance as to how governments may comply with their international obligations. They include the body of principles for the protection of all persons under any form of detention or imprisonment, the United Nations standard Minimum rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice.
            In Nigeria and other countries, prisoners retain certain basic rights which survive despite imprisonment. Consequently, the test in every case is whether the right is fundamental and whether there is anything in the law which authorizes the prison authorities to limit such a right.
            The factors and standard rules governing the rights of prisoners have therefore been provided in different degrees in the law and regulation of many countreis5. They generally appear as constitution prison Rules and laws governing the prison institution, which are binding on prisoners. The constitution and the prison laws and regulation provide a structure and framework for the regulation of prison life. The are for the organization and administration of the prisons and for the good order, discipline and with the following rights.

            The right to life is very fundamental to every person; it is the base of every other right. The 1999 constitution made provisions guaranteeing right to life. Section 33 provides that “Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, except in execution or the sentence of a court. This implies that a prisoner’s life cannot be terminated except in a lawful execution of a sentence of death. In the light of this, the Supreme in the Bellow v Attorney General of Oyo State.6

1 This visit shall  not be within the hearing of a police or prison official.
2UN Human Rights Committee, general comment 21 paragraph 3 the human Rights Committee Provides authoritative interpretations of the ICCPR though the periodic issuance of periodicals.
3 N0 458199 (August 10 1994) U.N. Doc. CCPR/c5/1991
4 There are numerous international prison monitoring bodies
5 Know as the Benji Rules
6 (1986) 5 N.W.L.R (pt. 45) 828

Annual abstract of statistic in Nigeria 1980. Also Nigeria prison services annual report 1980/81 cited on p. 80 1993 J.U.S Vol. 6. No. 4.
Black Law Dictionary sixth centennial edition (1891-1991) P. 11194.
Human Rights watch: Prison conditions and the treatment of prisoners @ http:/hrp.org/prison/unit.nations.html.
International covenant on civil political Rights
Ngozi Udombana “Rights of prisoners and detainees in Nigeria.
The 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Prisons Act cap. P29, 2004
The African Charter on Human and People’s Ratification and Enforcement Act Cap 10LFN, 1990 now cap A9 Vol. 1 LFN. 2004.
The propurt of prison system-what to Expect @ http:/wwhumanights.gov.an/social-justice/tracking/prisons-htm.
Prisons Act CAP 366 laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1990.
UN Human Rights Committee, general comment 21 paragraph 3 the human Rights Committee provides authoritative interpretations of the ICCPER though the periodic insurance of periodicals.
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