- A former prisoner has narrated how he spent a total of 26 years in different prisons for fighting with a mechanic
- He had gotten angry and slapped the mechanic; but the crime was later changed to armed robbery by the IPO assigned to the case
- Lamenting over the state of the nations’ prison system, he said Nigeria’s prisons are not reforming anybody
Nigerians have been asked to control their tempers by a former inmate of the Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Jide Odusanya, who said anger landed him in jail, Punch reports.
He made the comments at a conference organised by the Prison and Hospital Ministry of the Redeemed Christian Church of God at the Ogun Province 4 Headquarters, Redemption Camp, Ogun state, on Tuesday, May 1.
NAIJ.com gathers that Odusanya had spent a total of 26 years in three different prisons across the country, before the Lagos state government pardoned him.
The 57-year-old unmarried ex-inmate said a fight over water spillage destroyed his dream of becoming a bank manager, and disclosed that he was sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit.
According to Odusanya, his ordeal began in June 1991, after he fought with a mechanic in the Ebute-Meta area of Lagos state, where he resided with his parents.
He stated: “The mechanic usually came to fetch water in my father’s house and I told him to always lock the tap when he was done. This was because my room’s window was close to the tap and when water spilled on the floor, it bred mosquitoes which entered my room.
“But that day, he asked why I would talk to him in such a manner. He pushed me. I was angry and slapped him, which started a fight. The younger brother of one of my friends came to visit me that period.
“Instead of separating the fight, the boy took a flaming wood and smashed it on the mechanic’s head. The mechanic hit his head on the ground and sustained some injuries. The boy and I were arrested and detained at the Iponri Police Station for causing grievous bodily harm.
“The injured mechanic’s uncle, who was an army officer, said he was interested in the case. It was during the military regime. We were transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Yaba.”
However, Oudsanya stated that after the investigating police officer visited his house and found a knife which he used to cut loaves of bread, the officer changed the case to armed robbery. After he and the co-accused were arraigned in a magistrate court for robbery, they were remanded at the Ikoyi Prisons and remained there for seven years without trial.
He said: “After seven years, legal advice said I had a case to answer, while the boy was discharged and acquitted. I was moved from the Ikoyi Prison to the Kirikiri Maximum Prison.
“I was taken to a court at Igbosere where I was sentenced to death based on the knife evidence. I was on death row for three years before former Lagos Governor Bola Tinubu, converted it to life imprisonment on December 31, 2001.
“I spent 16 years in life imprisonment. At some points, I was taken to the Ibara Prison in Ogun state and would have been released by the then Governor of the state, Gbenga Daniel, who asked to see my file. But the prison authorities did not send the file to him.
“After eight years at Ibara Prison, I was returned to the Kirikiri Prison. I was considered for pardon by the Lagos state Government and was released in June 2017.”
Odusanya said his parents died while he was languishing in prison; and also pointed out that upon his release, he discovered that the woman he had been engaged to prior to his imprisonment had gotten married and had five children.
He lamented over the state of the nations’ prison system, stating: “The prisons are not reforming anybody. Those who make the difference in our prisons are the non-governmental organisations and churches. Anybody that comes out of prison and changes, God must have been involved. Most often, criminals become hardened after passing through the prison."
According to him, he became a born-again Christian in prison, made O’level credits in prison and gained admission into the National Open University of Nigeria where he started studying Cooperative Management and is now in 200 level.
He advised Nigerians to avoid arguments that could make them misbehave; but added that he believed that malevolent forces might have had a hand in his ordeal.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com came across the sad story of a 99-year-old man serving jail time with his son in Enugu prison. The man, identified as Celestine Egboluche, was allegedly imprisoned with his son Paul and a 78-year-old man identified as Kanayo Arinze.
According to Facebook user Christian Okezie Chukwuka, the 99-year-old man has been imprisoned for seventeen years.
Ex-prisoner turns advocate for release of former inmates - on NAIJ.com TV: