If you are reading this article you are probably a free man, woman, youth or child. You’re also probably reading this from the comfort of your bedroom, sitting room, office or somewhere comfortable with little or no idea of what a prison looks like.
You are indeed lucky to be a free person. I say lucky because not all the people in prison are responsible for the crimes they were accused of…they were just found guilty. The last place you would ever want to be boxed in, is a Nigerian prison. Let’s enlighten you a little about Nigerian prisons.
Many prisons in Nigeria are worse than tombs! Think about it for a second, if a government is struggling to pay salaries, build roads, equip hospitals and renovate schools etc. What do you think that State’s prison would look like?
You need to go to Nigerian prisons….as a visitor… to get a proper understanding of what we mean. As bad as the majority of prisons are in Nigeria, some are worse.
Here are the top 10 worse prisons in Nigeria:
10. Suleja Prison, Niger State
The number one problem of most Nigerian prison is congestion. Many of these prisons have exceeded three times their capacity. Suleja prison in Niger State, is a clear definition of this. The situation is so bad that the stench from the prison causes a few warders to wear face masks while going about their duties.
Some critics have posited that many of the inmates at Suleja prison are people who were arrested and thrown in prison for offenses that should not warrant imprisonment. One of such cases is that of a nursing mother who was being held in the prison alongside her 8-month old baby. Of course many have been held for years without trial.
9. Abakaliki Prison, Ebonyi State
Goodness, gracious! The state of the Abakiliki prison! It’s just horrible, to say the least. One remarkable feature of Nigerian prisons is that they manage to keep the outdoor environment clean and serene; but step in and see the condition of inmates; you would most likely shed tears.
In Ebonyi State Nigeria, the condition of the prison has deteriorated to the level of being seen as one of the worst prisons in Nigeria. This August, it was reported that there was an attempted jail break at the Abakiliki prison which left a lot of inmates and warders injured.
It was however discovered that it was not a jailbreak but a revolt by inmates who have gotten fed up of the poor living standards which they have been subjected to for years.
8. Maiduguri Maximum Prison, Borno State
For a prison located in a State that has turned into a haven for terrorists, you’d most likely know what to expect. The Maiduguri maximum prison is so bad that inmates lose their minds out of sheer suffering.
The congestion at the Maiduguri maximum prison is a horrible level of its own. Feeding and hygiene are so bad that we cannot begin to describe it.
The prison has a capacity of 1600 inmates but the population of inmates are approximately three times that number. Deranged inmates yell loudly into the night, disrupting the sleep of other inmates. It got so bad that some terrorists who were previously arrested were given amnesty and released to help in decongesting the prison, however, the situation remains dire. The Maiduguri maximum prison is simply in few words, hell on earth.
7. Enugu Maximum Security Prison, Enugu State
We once went to visit a relative who was awaiting trial but was being remanded at the Enugu prison, we were reduced to tears because some prisons make men cry…make that wail. The prison was overly congested, to say the least. Our perception of the place was more like an ancient torture arena than a prison.
We carried out a brief research on the prison and discovered that this prison was built in 1915…yup!.. originally designed to hold just over 600 inmates. Since then, the prison had undergone just a handful of renovations but still deteriorated almost to rubbles.
Currently, over 2000 inmates are crammed into a 600 capacity prison. Imagine the condition of inmates in such a situation.
The Enugu maximum security prison needs a quick face lift, however, at the moment, that prison is one of the worst in Nigeria.
6. Kurmawa Prison, Kano
The Kurmawa prison in Kano is as old as old can be. The prison was built by the British-led colonial government in the 19th century (and we thought Enugu maximum security prison was old). The prison is small one when compared to others on our list, but just like the rest of the bunch, it is overly congested. The prison is meant to hold just about 40 inmates but over a hundred inmates are now being crammed into the tiny prison rooms.
Inmates are subdued to all sorts of inhumane treatment. You probably wouldn’t feed your dog with the food being given to inmates in this prison.
5. Jigawa Prison, Jigawa State
Honestly, the worst thing that can happen to any Nigerian is to be incarcerated in any Nigerian prison, especially the Jigawa prison. The congestion in this prison is simply off the chain . It is reported that some friends and relatives moan and wail when they visit and see the horrific condition of their loved ones in this prison.
Extortion of prisoners by warders for small favors is not a new trend. Inmates sometimes suffocate and die in this prison due to congestion. Earlier this year it was reported that an inmate by name ‘Damina Jauro Audu’ had died of sheer suffocation due to congestion in the Jigawa prison. The Jigawa prison is definitely one of the worst prisons in Nigeria.
4. Goron Dutse Prison, Kano State
There are about 15 prisons in Kano State, however, the worst of the bunch is the Goron Dutse prison. Congested, deplorable infrastructure, poor feeding and living condition are a few of the characteristics that best describes the Goron Dutse prison.
It appears the government has absolutely forgotten that such a prison exists in Kano State, due to how deplorable the place have become. It has been reported that this prison holds over 2000 inmates crammed into a prison that is supposed to hold less than 800. The Goron Dutse prison in its current state is nothing but a hell hole in Nigeria.
3. Kaduna Convict Prison, Kaduna State
Well, here’s another horrific prison in Nigeria. The Kaduna convict prison is one place with the ability to radically transform hardened criminals into saints due to how horrible the place has become. Built in the early 1900s, the prison was meant to hold 500 inmates, but you can guess, from Nigerian prisons trend, how much it holds today.
News about the detestable condition of the Kaduna prison filtered to president Buhari and he gave a directive to all state governors asking them to look into the conditions of prisons in their state with immediate effect. The Kaduna prison is as bad as all the above-listed prisons, maybe worse.
2. Port Harcourt Prison, Rivers State
And here’s another! What can we say about the Port Harcourt prison that hasn’t already been said? The place should be closed down already…if we had our way.
The Port Harcourt prison is renowned for being the prison with the most inmates awaiting trial. Built in 1918, the Port Harcourt prison was built to hold 800 prisoners but now holds over 3000 inmates. Words will fail to describe what inmates go through in that prison.
1. Kirikiri prison, Lagos State
The badest of the badest, the Kirikiri prison in Lagos is arguably the worst of the bunch. Big, dilapidated, congested and horrifying are not enough adjectives to adequately qualify the state of the Kirikiri prison.
The issue here is that warders have resorted to all sort of underhand activities such as bribery and other shady businesses to make ends meet.
There’s reportedly a gate fee charged before friends and relatives can go in to visit their loved ones who are incarcerated. ‘Palm-greasing’ has become a popular phenomenon; inmates have to give bribes before they are allowed basic rights such as seeing a doctor and so on.
Well, if you’re as horrified as we are, you would run as far away from crime as your legs can carry you. The state of many Nigerian prisons are disheartening. Yes, many argue that after all, they are criminals but then again, they are human beings too! We urge the government to look into these prisons with focus not on the crime but on human dignity.