16 May 2019

Nigeria: Passersby Pass Money, Snacks to Prisoners As Black Maria Breaks Down On Highway

The usual traffic around Toyota bus-stop on the Apapa-Oshodi expressway created an unexpected stir that attracted crowd to the scene when one of the two trucks of the Nigerian Prison Service conveying inmates to Kirikiri prisons broke down in the middle of the expressway at about 6:30p.m.

The scene later became chaotic as the crowd of onlookers moved to sympathy for the inmates still locked in the Black Maria, began to give them money, drinks and snacks. It was double jeopardy for the prison wardens as they tried relentlessly to control the crowd milling round the truck while also seeking for help to push the truck out of the highway.

Some stranded motorists later joined forces with the warders to push the truck out of the way just as the prisoners were increasing their chants of "help your neighbour; we are suffering in prison; God bless you, you won't be a prisoner; please, we are starving."

It would be recalled that in November last year, the Minister of Interior, Gen. AbdulRahaman Dambazau (rtd), said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had approved N1.5 billion for the purchase of 116 vehicles for the prison service to fast-track the administration of justice in the country. He also said the vehicles used for conveying inmates from prisons to courts will now be known as Green Maria instead of Black Maria following the approval for name change by the Federal Government.

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