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Group wants FG to overhaul prison facilities, address congestion


Human rights group, Centre for the Vulnerable and Underprivileged (CENTREP) in Delta State, has lamented the worsening conditions of prisons in the state and across the country. The group has therefore urged the Federal Government to take urgent steps in salvaging the system, alleged to be running below the least human standards.

Investigations reveal that poor feeding methods of the inmates, particularly those in Ogwashi-Uku, Sapele, Agbor, and Warri prisons portend worrisome situation. Many of the inmates allegedly feed on contaminated bread, otherwise known as ‘Santana’. This is besides the menace of prison congestion, with hundreds of inmates forced to cohabit in facilities meant for only few people.

In Ogwashi-Uku, Agbor prisons, the inmates are put into dingy rooms without ventilation and adequate care, a situation that has allegedly led to the death of 16 inmates in the last six months.

Insiders sources alleged that inmates are often involved in outside labour such as farming, bush clearing and digging of drainage, pit toilets and wells, but are paid pittance, which are often surrendered to top prisons’ officers, who will in turn give the inmates some provisons not commensurate to the money obtained as their share from their labour.

But a senior officer at Ogwashi-Uku prisons, who did not want his name in the print, denied the allegations as untrue, saying the inmates are legitimately engaged in outside labour as part of the routine for their jail terms without any payment.

However, in a statement issued and signed by the rights’ group Executive Director, Chief Oghenejabor Ikimi, they called for the immediate renovation of all prisons across the country to make them reformative centres, as they have transformed gradually over the years from mere prisons to concentration camps.

“The Warri prison, which was meant for 307 inmates currently house over 3,000 inmates with zero facilities on ground for their welfare, many of whom are only awaiting trials.”

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