The Prisoners’ Rights Advocacy Initiative has instituted a legal action against the Nigerian Correctional Service over the electrocution of five inmates leading to their death at the Ikoyi Prison in Lagos.
The electrocution was caused by overcrowding, according to the Controller-General of the NCS, Ja’afaru Ahmed, who also said that the facility had a capacity of 35 but accommodated 140 persons.
Apart from those killed in the incident, at least 10 others sustained injuries.
Joined in the suit are the Federal Government of Nigeria, Attorney-General of the Federation, Minister of Interior, Controller-General of the NCS, Lagos State Controller of Correctional Service, Attorney-General of Lagos State.
The group is praying the court to grant an order that the service begins the decongestion of the court and also release those who did not go through proper trial.
Some of their prayers are that, “A declaration that the overcrowding of the Ikoyi Medium Security Custodial Centre, which was originally built in 1955 to accommodate 800 inmates, but now holding about 3,113 inmates as at December 3, 2019 was unconstitutional and violates the inmates’ fundamental right of freedom from degrading treatment and respect for dignity of their persons under Section 34(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
“A declaration that the arrest and continued remand without proper arraignment and trial in a court of competent jurisdiction of all inmates as of the day of judgment in this application, who have been in custody for period in excess of two months in case of those not entitled to bail, and three months in case of the those entitled to bail, was unlawful and unconstitutional and a violation of their fundamental right to personal liberty and freedom of movement as guaranteed by Sections 35(4) and 41 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act CAP A9 LFN 2004.
“A declaration that the dearth or lack of functional basic amenities, including state of the art vocational and recreational centres, and health facilities in the Ikoyi Medium Security Correctional Centre is unlawful and violates inmates’ fundamental rights under Section 34(1)(a) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and also a breach of the 1st respondent’s duties under the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners (as revised in 2015) A/RES/70/175.”
The advocacy organisation also prayed the court to grant an order compelling the 1st and 3rd respondents to keep the Ikoyi Medium Security Custodial Centre in good shape, and also directing the respondents to tender public apology in at least two widely read newspapers for violating the rights of the inmates.