By Adedeji A. Azeezat
In the early hours of Tuesday, 23rd of March, the Human Rights Chambers, Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin embarked on a well anticipated prison visitation. Prior to that day, the Chambers sent out fliers and broadcast messages to share information regarding the event.
A total of 32, law and non-law students volunteered for the visitation program. The program was held in partnership with Ilorin University Medical Students Association (ILUMSA) and PROBONO CENTER.
While ILUMSA provided free medical services for the inmates and prison staffs, PROBONO CENTER, a NGO made preparations towards providing free legal representation for selected inmates that lack legal representation.
Relief materials in form of clothes, sanitary pads, soap, food etc were donated by members of the general public in response to previous soliciting for pubic assistance for the charitable event by the Chambers
The event recorded great success as over 40 inmates were provided with free medical services and a total of 5 inmates were selected to benefit from free legal representation which PROBONO CENTER is offering. Drugs and other medical facilities were also gifted to the Prison Clinic by the Chambers.
In an interview with the Lord Activist of the Chambers, Activist Ibrahim Ismail, he mentioned that the condition of the prison clinic is very pitiable and deplorable adding that it was too unequipped to meet with the medical needs of the overpopulated prison.
While lamenting on the state of the criminal justice system in the country, he drew our correspondent’s attention to the case of a passenger who was arrested alongside a bike man. The bike man is alleged to have stolen the bike he used for transportation. Notwithstanding the fact that the bike man gave evidences that completely exonerated the passenger, the passenger has since been detained in the prison for over eight months without legal representation for the offense of _boarding the wrong bike!_
The prison staffs were welcoming and accommodating. They mentioned that the prisoners were not the only ones suffering from the deplorable state of the prison but, they were as well especially with regards health and security. An instance was given of a warden who contracted Tuberculosis via an inmate.
Pastor James, one of the prison’s welfare directors expressed great appreciation because the global health challenge in light of Covid-19 did not hinder the charitable program. He acknowledged the health risk the volunteers took to have made it to the prison. He also appreciated that a lot of money must have been spent to make the visitation a success.