Assistant Controller of Prisons, Othman Musa, has alleged that frequent adjournment of court cases has contributed to rampant cases of jail breaks in the country.
Musa told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja that the prisons structures across the country were old and dilapidated. “Most of our facilities are virtually as old as Nigeria because most of them are over 100 years old and the same structures, housing large number of inmates.
“These are buildings constructed during the pre-colonial period and they house as much as 40 inmates, more than thrice its capacity. “So you find out that at any given time, there is congestion, which is not unconnected with the frequent adjournment of court cases. “We have more awaiting trials than the convicted inmates.
So where you are supposed to have 10 people in a room, you are now having 20 or 25 people,” he said. Musa, however, said the Service was doing a lot and has by taken a number of measures in many areas to address the issues. The prisons official also wants the public to assist by showing love and care to prisoners. “Those incarcerated are our brothers, sisters and relations, but we hardly go and visit them, when they are in prison or out of prison,” he said.
He said the moment you stigmatise an ex-convict, he has no alternative than to go back to their old friends and the, back to prisons. “But if you show them love and care after imprisonment, introduce him to religious activities, bring them closer to you and give advise, we may perhaps change them. He also said that the welfare of prisoners was poor but that efforts were on to improve on the condition. “As at now, I can say the feeding is okay. you know you cannot feed a person three times daily on N1,000 and expect that food to be okay.
“But with the present increase in feeding fee, there is much improvement in the quality of the meals. “Their feeding is N400 now per meal three times per day (which is equal to N1,200 daily).