Laleye Dipo in Minna
Four inmates have been reported dead at the Kontagora prison in Niger State.
THISDAY gathered that two of the inmates died of tuberculosis, one of cholera, while another inmate lost his life as a result of a kidney-related disease.
One of the deceased was said to have been sentenced to death by hanging with an unconfirmed source saying: “He died a day to the day he was to be hanged.”
The death could be attributed to the congestion of the prison which was designed to accommodate 120 inmates but was now said to be accommodating about 400 inmates most of them awaiting trials.
According to investigation, medical personnel had been despatched to the prison to bring the situation under control.
Efforts to get the official reaction to the development from the Nigerian Prisons Service was not fruitful as everyone kept sealed lips on the matter.
When contacted, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Nasara Danmalam, confirmed the story after clarifying from one of the officials in the prison.
“It is sad. If not that you called I would not have known. Our prison congestion is a source for serious concern, our prisons are overcrowded, very unhealthy, facilities meant for 120 inmates is now quadruple,” he said.
The commissioner said he would liaise with the state Ministry of Health on how to improve the living conditions in the Kontagora prison, adding that: “I don’t want the situation there to be more complicated, I don’t want more death, we will collaborate with the Ministry of Health and the prison authorities on how to redress the situation.”
Danmalam said the state government had taken steps to decongest the prisons especially the Kontagora prison with the putting together of “expedited trial” to speed up prosecution “without infringing on the rights of the suspects”.
“Unfortunately, we have not been able to take off for logistics reasons,” he said.