By ADEJUWON OSUNNUYI
No fewer than 32 prison inmates died in one year in a Lagos prison owing to their inability to access funds for good medication and drugs, the Lagos State Controller of Prisons, Mr. Olumide Tinuoye has disclosed.
He disclosed this today when the Prerogative of Mercy Committee led by the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem visited the Ikoyi and Kirikiri prisons on a fact finding mission to access and have a first-hand information of the conditions under which the inmates live.
The visit of the committee was also intended to determine what measures could be taken to decongest the facilities which are presently over populated.
According to Tinuoye, who did not disclosed the particular prison where the death occurred, the prison also lost one female inmate to death last month after being on dialysis for over two years.
He said that often times, prison officials use their personal money to buy drugs for the inmates while others live on the philanthropic gestures of churches and mosques which have been assisting to provide medication for the inmates.
The state controller of prisons stated that there are 7,714 in all the prisons across the state, 6,047 of are awaiting trials, 1,390 convicted, 202 already condemned while 75 are serving life sentences.
He stated for instance Ikoyi prisons which has a capacity of 800 presently has a total of 2,508 inmates, 461 of which are convicted and 2,047 while Kirikiri Medium prisons with a capacity of 1,700 has 2,979 inmates out of which 2,634 are awaiting trials while 345 are convicted inmates.
The state Attorney General, Mr Adeniji, while answering questions from journalists after the visit, disclosed that there is hope in the horizon for the inmates as the government has set a committee headed by the Director, Office of the Public Defender (OPD), Mrs Salami to review the cases of awaiting trials with a view to ensure that the inmates don’t continue to stay in prison unjustly or die in the process of waiting.
Mr Adeniji who said he had taken note of the drug situation of the clinics in the various prisons promised to seek the support of the state’s ministry of health for provision of drugs to the sick inmates.
The Justice Commissioner emphasized the need for the federal government to show more interest in the prisons and to work out a system to assists those who are sick, particularly to prevent an epidemic like meningitis likely to be occasioned by severe heat currently being experienced in the state.
“We don’t want to experience a prison break in Lagos, The prisons is supposed to reform inmates and not to make them want to make them want to break out on the account of ill-health”, he said.
Mr. Adeniji commended the state Controller of Prisons, Mr. Tinuola and his officials over how they have been caring for the inmates noting that they are well behaved in spite of the harsh conditions under which they live in the facilities.
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