The authorities of the Imo State Federal Prison have denied allegations of maltreating the IPOB women currently in detention.
The women were arrested during a protest, and charged for treasonable felony.
They were denied bail after a Magistrate Court said it couldn't grant them bail for their charges. As such, they were detained, pending advice from the Attorney-General of the state.
The prison management had turned back relatives of the detained women, who visited the court with food items. This led to an uproar in the state capital, Owerri, with allegations that the prison management was maltreating the women, some of whom were said to be pregnant.
However, James Madugba, the Public Relations Officer of Owerri Federal Prisons, denied the allegations, stating that prevailing circumstances could not permit the women to receive visitors for now.
Madugba also debunked claims that the Imo Prison is acting on "orders from above".
Explaining the position of the Prison management at a press briefing, he said: “We did not ordinarily deny family members access to the pro-Biafran women who are in our facility. There is no order from above asking us not to allow relatives of the women access to them. It is not also true that we exposed the women, especially the pregnant ones, to cold and inhuman environment.”
Madugba added that the women had to be duly registered, a process he said would take four days, before they could receive visitors.
“It is taxing to admit and register 112 people in any prison facility in Nigeria. You don’t just bring people into the prisons and the next minute, you want people to start visiting them," he added.
"Prison is a regimented environment. There are regulations. The responsibility of interviewing, admitting and registering such number of women would take four days. It is after these processes that you now allow family members to start visiting."