The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) has faulted assault claims by a member of the House of Representatives.
The disclaimer is coming after Honourable Joan Marakpor alleged that she was slapped and severely assaulted by Mr Peter Ekpendu’s orderly.
A statement issued by the Prisons boss stated that whereas it was true that he was at the National Assembly on the invitation of a committee to attend to some official issues with some of his staff, neither the pilot car in front of him nor his official car had any confrontation with anyone.
Mr Ekpendu described himself as a peace loving and law abiding citizen of Nigeria who had never been involved in any act of bravado, impunity or hooliganism.
He maintained that he would never encouraged any form of abuse on any Nigerian including the honourable member of the National Assembly.
Honourable Marakpor was allegedly slapped by an officer of the NPS for not giving way to the convoy of the Comptroller General of the NPS at the National Assembly on Wednesday.
The Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Dambazau (Rtd), has read the riot act to officials of the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS), saying the era of indiscriminate delay by prisons officials to present accused persons in court would no longer be tolerated.
General Dambazau gave the warning at an emergency summit on the state of prisons in Nigeria organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
While calling for an urgent decongestion of the prisons across all states in Nigeria, General Dambazau also decried the increasing number of awaiting trial inmates and the inhuman treatment they face in prisons.
In a moment of lamentation, the Controller General of the Nigerian Prisons Service, Dr. Peter Ekpendu, enumerated the various challenges of the service as the Executive Director of Carmelite Prisoners Interest Organisation, Reverend Father Ambrose Ekeroku, criticised the inhuman treatment of prisoners by prison officials and security agencies.
The Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Professor Bem Angwe, used the occasion to advise the Federal government against swapping of prisoners.
Nigeria and the sub-Saharan Africa are faced with problems of prison congestion, excessive use of force during arrest of suspects, torture, unlawful detention and abuse of prisoners among other issues.
The prisons reform conference, according to the organisers, was aimed at exploring new efforts at reforming the sector in a bid to proffer effective and sustainable solution.
The Controller-General of the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS), Dr. Peter Ekpendu, says the service is planning to build new prisons and renovate the old ones as part of effort by the current administration to decongest the prisons across the country.
He disclosed this in the presence of a representative of the Kaduna State Governor, Amina Sijuade, the Controller of Prisons in the state, Abubakar Garba as well as the state’s Commissioner of Police, Umar Shehu, during the commissioning of the Zaria Prison that was renovated by the State government.
Some aggrieved inmates of the prison had on May 28, set part of the detention facility ablaze during a riot, while two inmates escaped.
During an inspection tour to assess the level of damage at the prison, Governor Nasir El-Rufai had released the sum of 24 Million naira for the renovation of the damaged facility.
The Controller-General stressed the importance to decongest detention centres across the country and give them the necessary infrastructural face-lift required in line with international standards.
Acknowledging that Prisons Service was within the exclusive list in Nigeria, Dr. Ekpendu challenged state governors in the country to help the Federal Government improve prison facilities in their respective states.
The state’s Commissioner of Police also pledged the readiness of his command to collaborate with the NPS for speedy dispensation of justice as a way to further decongest the prisons.
Okah, who is standing trial for terrorism, reportedly sought the permission of the trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, to air his views over what he termed “endless trial”, due to his lawyer’s absence in court.
Charles Okah, who expressed frustration about the endless trial, ended his emotional statement after about five minutes, reached for a chair in the court and quickly moved towards a window but was overpowered by lawyers and other litigants who prevented him from breaking the louvers.
The spokesperson of the Prison Service, Ope Fatinikun, appealed to Nigerians, especially nearest communities and neighbouring states of Ekiti, Ondo, Edo, Osun, Kogi and Kwara states to be vigilant and watch out for suspicious individuals and report them to the nearest Prisons or Police stations.
In early November, a prison in Kogi State was attacked with over 120 inmates freed.
Both attacks happened on a Sunday night.
This has been a source of concern for many Nigerians who are asking security agencies in Nigeria to guard against a recurrence.