200 Women Languish In Ikoyi Prison


At least, two hundred women, including a heavily pregnant woman, are currently  languishing in the female section of Ikoyi Prison, Lagos State, South West Nigeria.  The women are awaiting trial for different criminal offences.

Statistics gathered from the prison by the the Lagos State Office of the Public  Defender, OPD, revealed that the 200 female prisoners were accommodated in the  prison built to accommodate 100 female prisoners.

With 200 females in the prison, it is overcongested because the prison has exceeded  its original capacity of 100 inmates, the OPD stated.

To decongest the female prison, the OPD says it is going to defend 145 female  prisoners awaiting trial in the court. Twenty-eight others, it was learnt, had been  convicted.

Director, OPD, Mrs. Omotola Rotimi, who disclosed this at the Lagos City Hall, Lagos  Island, during the marking of the tenth anniversary of the body, revealed that many  of the female prisoners had been there for long, either due to their inability to  meet the bail conditions attached to their bail or for minor offences.

According to her, one of the pregnant women in the prison was detained there because  she unknowingly bought a stolen second-hand generator which led to her arrest and  arraignment in court.

She said the woman was remanded in prison because she could not perfect her bail  conditions, which included payment of N50,000. She added that her husband deserted  her and left her to her fate after she was sent to Ikoyi Prison..

The OPD director also disclosed a lady with a nine-month old baby was also remanded  in the prison because she could not pay a debt of N40,000. The trial judge, she  said, granted her bail in the sum of N100,000 which she could not provide. She  described her case as pathetic because it was uncalled for, “for a judge to have  slammed N100, 000 bail condition for an offence amounting to just N40,000.”

The OPD boss disclosed further that her office was compiling the phone numbers of  elites in the society to assist inmates in paying the small amount attached to the  bail conditions granted some of them, as well as defend those still awaiting trial.

Related News

She explained that the OPD recently visited prisons in the state and interviewed 25  inmates awaiting trial to offer them legal representation in court.

“However, on getting to the prisons, we were overwhelmed by the number of people  awaiting trial.

“At Ikoyi male prison alone, we interviewed 200 inmates while at the female prison,  over 30 inmates were interviewed,” she stated, adding that the Office also visited  all remand homes and government approved motherless babies’ homes in Lekki; the  Girls Correctional Centre, Idi-Araba and the Boys Correctional Centre, Oregun.

“Our aim was to check the welfare of the children who have been in care and  protective custody of Lagos State through our office and also update the records and  check the welfare of children and young persons in conflict with the law,” she  added.

On the presentation of the book titled: Public Defence in a Developing Country:  Looking Behind and Beyond, Rotimi described the book as a compilation of works by  eminent persons in the legal sector ranging from judges, professors and scholars of  law.

“The book highlights the OPD’s mission and vision for justice in Lagos State, its  functions, contributions and the challenges faced by the OPD and public defence as a  whole in Lagos State,” she said.

—Kazeem Ugbodaga

  Copyright protected by Digiprove © 2010 P.M.News

Load more