by Adeyanju Olatunde
If you have ever visited a prison in Nigeria, you will be forced to pity the criminals, totally forgetting that they must have done something really terrible to land them there. That is not to take away the fact that so many people are there for offences they knew absolutely nothing about.
For those who are core criminals, you will still pity them when you enter these prisons and here are the list of the worst prisons in Nigeria.
- KIRIKIRI Maximum Security Prison: No one needs to be told how terrible this prison would be. The tales of what’s in there can freak a person out, let alone having to visit it or being locked up there (no one wishes that). The prison is located in Apapa and its official capacity is around 1,056 inmates, the inmates there have far surpassed the limit.
The prison yard is known for terrible treatment of the inmates, and appalling living conditions. They even have sub-standard medical care, and due to this, the death rate is very high.
Paul Chiama of Leadership Newspapers once wrote about the state of this prison;
‘The mention of Kirikiri reminds any Nigerian of the prison. It has held notable prisoners like: Chief Bode George, Clifford Orji, Al-Mustapha and Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua.’
- Another one is KUJE prison and this prison is located at Abuja. This prison is not quite different from Kirikiri prison in Lagos and it is also known for its terrible attitude towards the inmates. The prison is known as the place where pro-democracy activists arrested are locked up. Also, the critics of government during the military regime were usually sent there to be tortured. Some of the people who have been in the prison or currently there include Abba Moro, Olisa Metuh and Nnamdi Kanu.
- Then, there is the brutal GBOKO prison in Benue State. This prison is popular for its terrible sleeping conditions and of course, bad treatments of inmates.
Despite the plan by the Federal Government to ensure the reformation of the criminal justice system and prisons in the Nigeria, which includes Gboko, the prison remain congested regardless.
- Also, there is the JIMETA prison in Damaraturu, Yobe. Exceptionally dangerous and this is because most times, it is the home of religious extremists and Boko Haram prisoners. This makes the prison prone to violent attacks from the ‘yet to be arrested’ members. It is so bad that most people in this prison are not sure of seeing the next day.
History of the Jimeta prison break which occur in 2012 recorded an attack by 40 gunmen who were suspected to be members of the terrorist group Boko Haram. It was suspected that the attack was aimed at rescuing imprisoned members of the Boko Haram. Well, about 40 prisoners escaped from the prison; seven inmates and one prison warden were killed. Discovery revealed that the escaped prisoners were largely Boko Haram members.
- The IBARA prison in Abeokuta, Ogun State is another notorious one and some of the inmates of the prison have accused prison officials of extorting cash from them to carry out their official duties. One of the affected inmates even said that on court days, these prison officials would force them to contribute money to fuel vehicles adding that they would threaten not to take them to court and in their words;
“Maybe it is on such a day that the court may set you free”. Because of the level of corruption in the prison yard, the prison is congested as there are unnecessary remands of innocent persons because they have no money to bribe the officials.
- No one wants or wish to be in JIGAWA prison because it is ridiculously congested. It is so bad that some friends and relatives wail when they visit their people and then see the horrific conditions their loved ones are subjected to.
It is also common that warders extort prisoners for small favours. In fact, inmates sometimes suffocate and die in this prison due to the level of congestion. It has once been reported that an inmate by name ‘Damina Jauro Audu’ had died of sheer suffocation due to the congestion in the Jigawa prison.
- Maiduguri Maximum Prison, Borno State
For a prison located in a State that has turned into a haven for terrorists, you’d most likely know what to expect. The Maiduguri maximum prison is so bad that inmates lose their minds out of sheer suffering.
It is sad considering the life people are subjected to, especially the innocent ones amongst the prisoners. Regardless, the best way not to partake in this inhumanity is to stay out of trouble.