Death Toll Rises As Lagos Correction Centers, Kirikiri Prison Get Overcrowded
This certainly is not the best of times for the Deputy Controller of Prison in charge of the Kirikiri Medium Prison, Oluwaniyi Emmanuel and his officers over the condition of the prison and influx of inmates brought from various courts which increased the rate of deaths.
P.M.EXPRESS reports that it was not that the officers were not happy doing their job but on how to cope with the sorry state of the prison and numerous inmates that were brought there daily without corresponding attention needed to reform them.
Sources from the prison told our reporter that inmates die daily and are secretly buried due to suffocation, ailments, hunger and starvation due to congestion, this was yet to be confirmed by the prison management.
The prison statistics showed that the prison structure can only accommodate about 1700 inmates as its capacity, however, the present inmates there P.M.EXPRESS gathered were well above 3,600 as at last week; more than double of its capacity.
One of the prison officers who did not want his name to be mentioned said that the inmates increased daily between 100-150 and the number was not decreasing because of high rate of crime and slow justice system.
This was confirmed by our reporter who visited the place and discovered that among the detainees about 90 percent of them were Awaiting trial.
P.M.EXPRESS gathered that apart from the work force there that has been overstretched, there were not more than 150 who must work daily to reduce incidents of crime and death in the prison.
It was learnt that the situation became worse when all the correction centres meant to remand underaged ones became filled up and the courts had to order that the underaged should be remanded in prison custody for various offences such as hawking in traffic.
Thus, there is now an increase in the number of deaths in the prison unlike before due to congestion, malnutrition, diseases, hunger and starvation, a prison source told P.M.EXPRESS.
However, DCP Emmanuel, in a public function remarked that detaining an underaged for minor offences was part of the problems causing prison congestion and urged the Lagos judiciary to take note of that and have it corrected.
When our correspondent visited Kirikiri prison, the Controller declined to speak on the issue and said he was not authorized to speak on that in his capacity.
He only managed to say that there was need for more donors to come and assist by putting Small scale workshops where the inmates will learn and become responsible people when they leave the prison.
Some of the released detainees who spoke to P.M.EXPRESS confessed that the prison officials were doing their best and added that they cannot be blamed over what was happening there.
They said that the government should be blamed for the deaths, suffocation, hunger and starvation in the prison because they go on the streets to bring innocent people, charge them to court and they are remanded in prison without considering the capacity.
“Most of the detainees in prison are innocent and they are suffering for what they did not commit because of poverty and the system,” one of the released detainees remarked.