A Lagos Lagos Lawyer, Mr. Adejare Kembi has asked the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Prison Service to expose a syndicate that specializes in extorting money from family members of new inmates or detainees awaiting perfection of their bail inside the Ikoyi Prisons.
Mr. Kembi made the demand in a forwarded to the Comptroller General of Nigerian Prison Service as well as the Honourable Minister of Internal Affairs. He revealed in the petition that the syndicate whose mode of operation includes calling family members of new inmates and detainees to ask for sums of money and threaten that if the sums demanded are not paid, the new inmates would be tortured and ruthlessly dealt with.
In the petition titled “Illegal Use of Telephone and Extortion at Ikoyi Prisons”, Mr. Kembi narrated how three of his clients who were arraigned before the Magistrate Court Igbosere and remanded in Ikoyi Prison pending the perfection of their bail were forced to submit phone numbers of their family members with which the syndicate made contact demanding for N50,000 each and threatening to deal ruthlessly with them if the family failed to transfer the money.
In the petition, Mr. Kembi provided the Comptroller with the phone numbers used by the syndicates as well as a Diamond Bank Account details forwarded for the purpose of transferring the money with the below salient questions:
- In whose name were these telephone lines registered?
- How did the phones get into the various cells?
- Who opened the account?
- Who operates the account for the inmates who inherently are incarcerated?
When contacted, Mr. Kembi, confirmed that it has been more than 24 hours since the petition was forwarded to the Comptroller of Prisons Ikoyi and wondered why the syndicates were still making contacts with the family members with the illegal phones.
A call was put across to the two phone numbers provided in the letter and both rang out.
Mr. Kembi reiterated and we agree with him that unless a thorough investigation is carried out, the security of Nigerian Prisons stands undermined.