3 February 2013

Nigeria: How Farouk Lawan Spent His First Day in Prison

Embattled member of the House of the Representatives, Hon. Farouk Lawan on Friday passed his first day in Kuje Maximum Prisons, Abuja amid tight security provided by the military and mobile policemen.

His presence in the prison has also turned it to a beehive of activities as dignitaries, especially his associates thronged the prison yesterday to empathise with him.

Sources in the prison said that Lawan upon arrival in the facility was not accorded any VIP treatment He was allegedly ushered into the prison yard to rousing welcome of inmates.

According to the sources, Lawan only stared into space and shook his head in disbelief.

Asked if he was allocated a special room, one of the sources, who refused to disclose the hall and room number for security reasons, acknowledged that Lawan was allocated a bed in the "important personalities" block in the prison yard. It could not be established if the lawmaker shares the cell with his co-accused, Mr. Boniface Emenalo.

The former chairman, House of Representatives Ad- hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy was remanded in prison custody on Friday by Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi of the Abuja High Court over his alleged receipt of $620,000 bribe from businessman, Mr. Femi Otedola.

Although the entry points into the prison was mounted by fierce-looking armed military and mobile police men, who were assisted by prisons wardens, who had sniffer dogs, restricted movement in the area.

LEADERSHIP SUNDAY gathered from impeccable sources that the lawmaker who was remanded alongside the secretary of the ad-hoc panel, Mr. Boniface Emenalo, was in high spirit as he received his political associates.

A top prison official, who craved anonymity, told LEADERSHIP SUNDAY that some People's Democratic Party (PDP) chiefs and other prominent Nigerians, who did not want to be seen at the yard, arrived in the prisons gate as early as 6. 30am in exotic cars.

It was also learnt that three inmates were usually assigned to a room in the VIP cells for security reasons. "Prisons authorities do not allow a single person in a cell be it VIP or ordinary cell for security reasons. In fact, he has been allocated a room where he will no doubt sleep on a double bunk bed with a fan," the source added.

The officials of the prisons have reportedly granted Lawan the privilege of eating the food brought by his family members.

LEADERSHIP SUNDAY saw a light skin man, identified as Mohammed, exchanging pleasantries with a serving senator, who rode in a Toyota Sienna, with the inscription RE 55AAA at the gate with a food flask.

The two lawmakers will remain in the prison till February 8, 2013 when the matter would come up for hearing.

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