For a long time, CAPIO has witnessed the deplorable state of Enugu prisons. The maximum security prison in Enugu State was originally built for a maximum capacity of 630 inmates, however, it currently houses 2029 inmates. Over- congestion is only a fraction of the problems encountered in the prisons. Prison cells are largely dilapidated and archaic. It is interesting to note that these prisons were erected in the colonial era, and have since undergone very little or no renovation till date. Sewage waste from the prison is reportedly over-flowing into the streets of Enugu State regularly. The female-wing of the prison is a small enclosed area, walled off from the male prison, which can be likened to a mud-house typically found in remote villages. Water scarcity is also one of the major problems faced by inmates, particularly, female inmates. Water rationed out to inmates is grossly inadequate to cater for their sanitary needs. On a recent medical outreach conducted at Nsukka prison, an epidemic attributable to poor hygiene and sanitation was discovered amongst inmates. It is very scary to think that children born to inmates are susceptible to epidemics in the prisons. This state of affairs underscores the need to devote ample resources to the prison sector.
We are indeed happy to report that plans are currently being put in place by the Nigerian government to sanitize the prison sector. During CAPIO’s advocacy visit to the minister of interior, the minister informed delegates that the president has sanctioned projects for construction of model prisons in the six geo-political zones in Nigeria. He stated further that additional borstal homes will be constructed for juvenile offenders and drug rehabilitation institutions will be administered in these homes by the National Drug law Enforcement Agency. We are very pleased with this development, as it is a step in the direction of sanitizing the prison sector, which has been preached for donkey years. It is also hoped that the Federal government will see the need to refurbish old prisons in line with the model prisons to be constructed. This way, our prisons can finally become correctional facilities where offenders are rehabilitated to become better than they were on incarceration.