The Lagos State Controller of Prisons, Mr. Olumide Tinuoye has disclosed that 32 prison inmates died in one year in Lagos prisons due to their inability to access funds for proper medication and drugs.
Speaking 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, Tinuoye said the prisons also lost one female inmate last month after being on dialysis for over two years.
The visit of the committee was also to determine what measures could be taken to decongest the facilities which were over populated.
Tinuoye said that often times, prison officials used their personal money to buy drugs for the inmates while others lived on the philanthropic gestures of churches and mosques which had been assisting to provide medication for the inmates.
The Controller stated that there were 7,714 in all the prisons across the state, 6,047 of them awaiting trials, 1,390 convicted, 202 already condemned while 75 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 disclosed that there was hope in the horizon for the inmates as the government had 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 would not 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,”.
Adeniji commended Tinuola and his officials over how they had been caring for the inmates, noting that they were well behaved in spite of the harsh conditions under which they live in the facilities.