By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—The sagging infrastructural condition of the Owerri Federal Prison and the over-flowing population of it’s inmates, is giving the Deputy Comptroller of Prisons, DCP, Mr. Matthew Kalu, sleepless nights.
Mr. Kalu, made the lamentation during the commissioning of the Information Communication Technology, ICT, Centre, built and donated to the Federal Prisons, Owerri, by the member representing Okigwe South constituency in the House of Representatives, Deacon Chike Okafor.
“This prison was initially built to accommodate only about 500 inmates. When I took over the establishment in August 2015, I inherited 1,906 inmates, but today, we are harbouring over 3,000 inmates. That is the problem. This is over and above what the prison’s facility can conveniently accommodate at a time”, the DCP said.
While blaming the upsurge of the inmates to the recent prolonged industrial action by the judiciary workers, Mr. Kalu also reasoned that the situation can also be linked to the increasing rate of crime and criminality in Imo State.
“Some of the inmates, who were supposed to have left the confines of the prison, could not go because of the periodic judiciary strike. Again, because of the increase of crime and criminality in the state, the number of the inmates has continued to grow,” Kalu said.
He further disclosed that the number of the inmates continued to increase each day the courts sit, while those awaiting trial hardly get the opportunity to leave the enclave.
The DCP was equally expressed serious concern over the living condition of the inmates, who according to him, “are on bondage and not given the necessary assistance needed for their proper reformation”.
He passionately appealed to the state government and judicial workers to double their efforts towards decongestant the prison.