Nigerian Prisons: Death traps or reform centres?

Prison Detention Barbed Wireoriginally by: ThisDay Live
published: 13 May 2012

Prisons in Nigeria are dehumanising. Olaolu Olusina, with additional reports from Davidson Iriekpen and Chiemele Ezeobi, examine the state of the nation’s prisons as well as the various attempts at reforms, concluding that a massive overhaul is required to transform the prisons in the country to correctional facilities which they are really meant to be.

Former Minister for Interior, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho, is undoubtedly a tough merchant marine professional who still cherishes his training, although he is now retired. But Iheanacho who had been trained not to succumb to his emotions was to buckle while on a visit to Kuje Prison, Abuja, sometime last year, as he expressed shock at what he saw.

Confronted by one of the inmates who had summoned courage and told him that some of his colleagues had been awaiting trial for over 10 years, blaming their woes on the country’s judicial system and the tough conditions required for bail, Iheanacho, who was touched by the plight of the prisoners, was left with no choice than to apologise to them on behalf of the federal government.

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