8 March 2017

Niger: Jails Reduced to Breeding Ground for Terrorists

Lagos — NIGERIA'S overcrowded prisons have been cited as a fertile ground for recruiting Boko Haram terrorists and other extremists carrying out deadly attacks in the West African country. The problem is most rife at the Kirikiri medium security prison in the commercial capital of Lagos where more than 3 500 inmates, including 208 females are held. The female prison currently has about 11 babies and 6 pregnant women. The facility is meant to hold 1 700 inmates. Of major concern is that a majority of these are awaiting trial with only over 400 convicted. Speaking during a tour of the prison, retired Comptroller of Prisons, Dr Ifedioha Orakwe, said, "Prison is for convicted people alone and not for awaiting trial persons because awaiting trial prisons in recent times have become a fertile ground for recruiting terrorists and extremists." He said conditions in prisons made inmates awaiting trial vulnerable to indoctrination by serving Boko Haram kingpins. "Their long detention has terribly affected their psyche, which has in turn, removed humanity out of them." Disgruntled inmates have previously rioted over inhumane conditions as congestion in Nigerian prisons. There also have been daring escapes by prisoners. - CAJ News

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