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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Kirikiri inmates forced to pay for transport to court

Inmates at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, Lagos, are being forced to pay for their transport to the court for appearances, following the breakdown of the truck attached to the facility.

It was learnt that the prison occupants, particularly the Awaiting Trial Inmates, were made to pay varying amounts of money from N200 to N500 as transport levy.

The maximum prisons have about 2,500 inmates, most of who are Awaiting Trial Inmates.

Sources told our correspondent that the prison wardens coerced the inmates into paying the levy by threatening not to take any uncooperative person to court on his due date.

It was learnt that some of the inmates had to place phone calls to their family members who sent recharge card PINs which they sold to fellow detainees to raise the levy.

A source said, “The prison wardens informed the inmates that there was no Black Maria to take them to court and the only way the inmates could be transported to court was for them to contribute money.

“So, each inmate was asked to contribute between N200 and N500 to enable the wardens arrange the vehicles that would convey them on the date they were due to appear in court for their trial. If the prison authorities investigate this extortion, they will uncover the truth.”

But the Prison Service Public Relations Officer, Francis Eneboro, denied the allegation that inmates were asked to contribute money, adding that his inquiry at the prisons indicated that no such thing happened.

He said, “I have spoken with the officer in-charge and he denied that such a thing happened. But I have asked him to investigate the allegation to be sure that unscrupulous officers are not using his name to perpetrate such thing.

“The prison service does not condone acts of indiscipline and I can assure you that the allegation cannot be true.”

A number of inmates were reportedly killed at the prison in October 2014, after soldiers were called in to quell a riot that broke out among the inmates.

The prison authority, however, denied reports that inmates died; and subsequently set up a panel to investigate the cause of the riot. Six months after, however, the findings of the committee have yet to be released.

Culled from Punch

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