The Kuje Correctional Centre that should serve as a safe space for convicts and awaiting trial detainees, has over time become a place for nefarious business activities.
Allegations of corruption, extortion and cover-ups have continued to trail the custodial facility.
Inmates or detainees who have had reasons to stay in Kuje prison have recounted tales of woes and bad experiences due to poor welfare.
Kuje correctional Centre was established in the year 1989 with a minimum and maximum holding cell where inmates are incarcerated.
The custodial centre is famous for holding high profile offenders, including former governors and ministers.
The Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate, Orji Kalu, and former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, had their time in the facility.
Speaking under the condition of anonymity, an ex inmate in a two minute audio recording fingered the Deputy Comptroller, Corrections In-Charge of Kuje, custodial centre, Ibrahim Shehu as the Chief Executive Officer of the Alleged corrupt business empire.
The ex inmate said the officer has the penchant for extorting both the high and low class inmates in the custodial facility.
He explained that the Officer In Charge of the facility uses the Chief Warder, Mr. Awiza and two of his close office staff Allegedly to collect monthly dues from inmates under the guise that he would take same to the Comptroller-General of the Correctional Service.
Just very recently, a suspended Police Chief, DCP Abba Kyari, alleged he was forced to pay for cable TV for other inmates as a form of protection.
Kyari’s lawyer, Nureini Jimoh, who filed for a review of his client’s bail application, said his client was being subjected to harsh conditions.
“In a bid to mitigate the threats to kill the defendants/applicants, the chief warder advised DCP Abba Kyari and other defendants to advance some goodwill to the inmates by funding renewal of the DSTV subscription in all the cells for two months and make some cash donations to all the inmate’s group leaders as well as the church and mosque. The defendants/applicants Allegedly complied on 29/03/2022,” Kyari’s affidavit read in part.
Meanwhile, the ex inmate stated that it was the Officer In Charge of the facility that instigated the inmates to go after Kyari simply because he (Kyari) Allegedly refused to release more money to him and his boys after he had parted with over N1.8M.
He added that the former governor of Taraba State, Reverend Jolly Nyame is also in the long list of VIPs who suffered ill treatments in the hands of the corrupt prison officials.
He said others could not speak up like Kyari for fear of victimization.
Recall also that in 2017, the son of a former minister in the FCT was also alleged to have paid about N500,000 to officers of the NCS to secure a suitable withholding cell.
A report by a rights organisation in 2008 highlighted some of the corrupt practices in the facility.
Amnesty International had in a report noted that there were no adequate medical and welfare provisions for inmates.
Reacting to the development, an Abuja based lawyer, Mr. Emmanuel Ekwe described the incident as “unfortunate, disheartening and totally unacceptable.”
“This criminal acts have been reported as common and recurring phenomenon in the Nigerian Correctional Centres. It simply shows the despicable level of moral decadence of the officers who are paid to take charge of prison inmates.
“It is my considered opinion that such criminal and immoral acts should not be tolerated or condoned in anyway.
“I hereby call on the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Correctional Service to use his good office to urgently investigate the foregoing complaints and effect appropriate sanctions on the culprits, including their dismissal from Service forthwith,” Mr. Ekwe added.
All efforts to reach out to correctional center in Kuje prove abortive as at the time of filling this report.