Are the Nigerian prison inmates now getting paid? Reports reaching the media is that the inmates of the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prisons in Lagos State are now being forced to pay their fare to court for appearances.
According to the Punch newspaper, the prisoners especially those on trial are forced to dole out amounts of money from N200 to N500 as transportation fare to make their appearances at the court. The Kirikiri prison is believed to be housing about 2,500 inmates, most of whom are awaiting trial.
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.”
The inmates are said to have been dragged into paying the levy by wardens who threatened 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.
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.”