Lagos – A Lagos Lawyer and Activist, Chief Gabriel Giwa-Amu, said that the facilities in Nigerian prisons were not meant for high profile criminals the nation currently have.
Giwa-Amu told reporters in Lagos on Tuesday that since the current prison facilities were built by the colonial masters, more jail breaks would happen if the facilities were not upgraded.
“What do Nigerians expect from the prisons? With the obsolete facilities in place, over bloated number of inmates for facilities meant for few, they should expect more jail breaks.
“Apart from few new prisons built, none of the old prisons had been improved upon. Warders are not magicians; there are people who are sane and insane in our prisons.
“The warders are not trained to take care of insane persons. Some are pregnant and have even delivered.
“We don’t have facilities in the prisons to cater for these people. Now we have terrorists for the same facilities meant for ordinary criminals,’’ Giwa-Amu noted.
A Professor Emeritus, Prof. Adedokun Adeyemi, of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, said that jail breaks could also be caused by poor management.
Adeyemi said that the recent jail break in Ondo State could be as a result bad condition of the prison, inmates and officials.
He noted that a prison which was supposed to be a reforming centre, turned out to hardening the heart of inmates, due to the dehumanising condition of the prisons.
“It is better to execute a condemned inmate immediately, than leaving the person in torture as he expects that the executioner would be around any time. This is the condition of many inmates.
“Their days run into months, years, waiting for the executioner. If such inmate has an opportunity to escape, he will do anything possible for a jail break.
“In as much as I do not support execution of offenders, let the prison condition be good enough for human habitation. Those on death row can be commuted into life sentences.
“The number of awaiting trial inmates in different prisons is alarming. Some people have spent eight years waiting for trial. These are factors that the government should look into,” he said.
Mr Christopher Oji, National Chairman, Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN), observed that many people were in the prisons for unjustifiable reasons.
“Too many innocent persons are the ones that fill our prisons. They are angry with the society for incarcerating them for years for nothing. Many with minor offences are waiting for trial.
NAN reports that 175 inmates escaped from the Olokuta Maximum Security Prison, Akure, Ondo State, on Sunday, after an attack by unknown gunmen. (NAN)