Nov. 7, 2013
Press Release: NASS Should Begin Immediate Probe of Enugu Maximum Prison
Transform Nigeria Citizens Initiative (TNCI) had expected alongside other Nigerians that the relevant authorities would have begun a probe into startling revelations by the Sun Newspaper of October 20, 2013 concerning illegal operations at Enugu Maximum Prison.
We hereby request for the National Assembly to beam their searchlight on the manner the prison authorities run the penal institution. Following the Sun reports, our independent investigations reveal that inmates at the Enugu Prisons truly undergo such inhuman ordeal in the hands of the Prison officials as revealed in the newspaper.
We are dismayed to learn that Enugu prison authorities which is funded by the taxpayers still force prisoners to pay a N2,000 fee to transport them from the prison to court for their trial; and if they fail to pay, they miss court hearings leading to further adjournments.
We also urge NASS to summon the prison authorities to explain why inmates should pay between N100 to N150 for a bucket of water when such water is freely provided from a borehole dug by the Federal Government for the inmates.
Our laws provide that an accused is deemed innocent until a relevant court of law rules otherwise; it thus becomes gross human abuse in a prison where majority of the inmates are awaiting trial, for officials to punish the inmates by rationing the free water to a maximum of two to three cups of drinking water daily while those who wanted more pay for it.
We further urge the honourable members and senators to commence an urgent investigation into reports that inmates pay N10, 000, N25, 000 or even up to N200, 000 to be allocated cells depending on the quality of the cell; a cell built by the government for the inmates.
We reiterate that these allegations are not mere rumours but TNCI has conducted independent investigations and can authoritatively say they are true.
We are aware that the Deputy Comptroller of Prisons, (DCP), Mustapha Attah reportedly said: “I provide the money for diesel for the tanker to bring water three times a day because the last time Water Board gave us water was five months ago?”
We ask; could the above claim be the reason why the prison boss sells the water to inmates?
Are the payments by prisoners made to help the Deputy Comptroller in recovering his expenditure? Were they his ‘personal funds’? Should an employee of the Federal Republic of Nigeria use his personal money to buy water daily for prisoners? Did the Enugu inmates contribute money to re-paint the Enugu Maximum Prison during a top prison official’s visit? Is it true that there is a task force set up by the Enugu Maximum Prison authorities, who wore green shirts and serve as the eyes of the Prison boss, to monitor all workers in the yard?
We request that NASS summons the Comptroller of Prisons to answer these queries. The Lawmakers should conduct an open hearing on the above matters and make their findings public and compel the appropriate executive organ of government to take necessary action on the matter including appropriate sanctions.
For: Transform Nigeria Citizen Initiative
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On Transform Nigeria Citizens Initiative (TNCI)
Transform Nigeria Citizens Initiative (aka Transform Nigeria Movement, TNM) is a Non Profit Oorganisation whose vision is to develop that critical mass of citizens who are not only aware of their civic rights but also understand the need to fight for such rights and demand accountability from the rulership.
Featured image: BBC