The Deputy controller in charge of Awka prison, Mr Mathew Kalu has said that his staffs were responsible for the sales of indian hemp to prisoners, but through his efforts, such practices has been abolished.
He said the welfare of inmates in the prison should not be left in the hands of the federal government as doing so will amount to abandoning them to sufferings.
Kalu who spoke to journalists to refute earlier report that he was condemning the federal government for neglect of the inmates said that it was not true that federal government has completely abandoned the prisoners.
He rather said that what he meant was that the federal government was doing its best for the prisoners, but that their best was not enough as there are several things including congestion and health services that were still not in good shape in the prison.
According to Kalu, since he came to the Awka prisons last year August, he has worked hard to sanitize the prison, especially in the use of hard drugs and use of phones, which was mostly facilitated by some prisons staffs.
“We found out that some of our staffs were the ones selling Indian hemp to the prisoners and also facilitating the use of phones by the prisoners, so we put a stop to it and started searching our staff to make sure that such does not happen.
“When I came, I also made courtesy calls to religious organizations, Non Governmental Organisations and even philanthropists in the state, seeking for help for us to be able to effectively rehabilitate our inmates. Through this way, we have improved on their feeding, we have also refurbished four vehicles which we use to take prisoners to court and also gotten groups to rebuild some of our cells, including First Bank and Catholic Organisation of Nigeria,” Kalu said.
He revealed that as a result of the crime rate in the country, the number of inmates in the prison has been on the increase, just as the cell today which was built to accommodate 238 inmates currently has 386 awaiting trial inmates and 37 convicts totaling 423 inmates.