Nigeria Considers Better Categorisation Of Prisons After Inmates Riot

Channels Television  
Updated October 20, 2014

Abba Moro. Interior Minister in Nigeria.Prisoners in Nigeria will soon be categorised according to crimes committed, the Minister of Interior, Mr Abba Moro, has said.

In an interview with Channels Television, Mr Moro said that the system would see those who had committed serious offences separated from those with lesser ones.

The Minister said that the changes were triggered by lessons learnt from the recent riot by inmates at the Kirikiri Medium Prison in Apapa area of Lagos State.

Prisoners at the Kirikiri prison had staged a riot on October 10.

The prisons authorities are still investigating the cause of the riot, which is thought to have occurred as a result of poor conditions of the prisons.

The Minister said that the government was putting plans together with some regulations to ensure that prisons achieved its purpose of correcting and reforming prisoners.

“We are looking for options of making our prison better and happily it is starting from Kirikiri and by the grace of God and the understanding of members of the public, we will take steps now to ensure that the prison system conforms with what is obtainable in the international community.

“Because of the problem of the past where prisoner are put together in one cell, whether, the person is a murderer, an armed robber or a hardened criminal, what the prison authority has done now, which is awaiting implementation, is to categorise crimes and criminals,” he said.

The Minister of Interior also pointed out that hardened criminals would be separated from petty thieves and persons who have not been tried due to some reasons.

“The people who have been accused but incarcerated will be separated from every other criminals because the access to education and vocational training by inmate will be a distraction for them to go into hardened criminal activities,” Mr Moro said.

An ex-convict, who served jail term in a Prison in Nigeria, has described prisons in Nigeria as a training ground for hardened criminals.

Mr Koyode Williams of the Prison Rehabilitation Ministry International said that the prisons in Nigeria had no capacity of reforming criminals, insisting that the prisons and the prisons’ officials needed complete reform.

After the riot by inmates, the spokesman for the Nigerian Prisons Service, Ope Fatinikun, said that out of 2,534 inmates in the prison only 98 have been tried and sentenced. Others are awaiting trials. Most of this inmates are put together in same cell, as the number is far more than the prison can cater for.