Chief Godwin Ezeemo, leader of PPA in Anambra(middle) flanked on both side by his children and wellwisher during his 50th birthday marked in Awka prison with inmates.
The plight of inmates serving various sentence and awaiting trials in prisons around Anambra State have been described as akin to being condemned in hell fire.
The Assistant Controllers of Awka and Aguata Prisons, Messrs Mathew Kalu and Paschal Ibegbulem respectively revealed this while welcoming the leader of the Progressive Peoples Alliance(PPA) and publisher of Orient Daily Newspaper, Mr Goddy Ezeemo to the prisons.
Ezeemo, a foremost philanthropist was in in Awka and Aguata prisons to celebrate his 59th Birthday with inmates of the prison.
Kalu, Assistant Controller of Awka Prisons in his address said, “This prison was built in 1904, you can imagine how old this structure is, and it was built to accommodate 338 inmates but today we have 437 of them here. When came here last year, it was even 490 inmates and we have been working to decongest the place.
“Some cells have as much as 50 persons, and at night what the inmates do is that while 25 are sleeping on the floor, 25 others have to be standing, so that the available space will be enough for them. They have been doing this with a good accord.”
Kalu and Ibegbulem who spoke in separate fora said that it is still unclear to them why government has abandoned the inmates in a place that was supposed to be a reformatory place, saying except the funds meant for them were being diverted somewhere.
He said that besides the meals which are still not rich in content, the government has totally abandoned prisons without any form of subvention to help take care of inmates, and that save for churches and other good spirited individuals, the inmates in the various prisons would have all died.
“The roofs of the various cells are leaking, and each time it rains at night, the inmates have to remain away and also pack themselves in one corner. It is a horrible situation. The inmates don’t have water here, and sometimes they have to drink one sachet of water several times just to conserve it.
“Virtually nothing is happening here and we are calling on government not to forget these ones who got here through one problem or the other. That is why we are very appreciative of people like Chief Ezeemo who have the resources to celebrate in the choicest places but choose to come to the prisons to mark their birthday.”
In his response, Chief Ezeemo said he Has always marked his birthday silently with his family, but this year he decided to do something different by coming to people who have been forgotten to celebrate with them.
“I am not happy over the condition I find you people, but I must say that I am just an individual. The overall responsibility should be on the government, but whatever you get from individuals like us, we pray you use it to kake care of yourselves. You must know that this is not a permanent place for you. The difference between you and I is just luck, so once you get out of here, do well to utilize your time positively.” Ezeemo said.