The Kuje maximum prison has turned to a dumping yard for suspects without prosecutors or inflence according to the story dished out by some inmates in the prison to The Sun.
The story of a man Identified as Chinedu Eze will make you feel pity for him.
For middle-aged Chinedu Eze, it was a crime that took him into the high walls of the Kuje prison sometime in 2005. Refusing to either explain the nature of the crime or admit guilty of it, Eze lamented that he has been abandoned for 11 years without anybody pressing charges against him:
“Sometimes, I wonder why I should be kept here indefinitely without any prosecutor. It was criminal offence that brought me to Kuje Prisons. But I have spent 11 years now as an awaiting trial inmate. For those years, my case has not been tried because there is no prosecutor. Sometimes, I wonder why they still keep in prison when no one is bringing charges against me.
“I want to believe that I am a victim of the criminal justice system in Nigeria which is hostile to the poor. I know my case would have ended since if I were from a wealthy family. We have done everything within our limit to reopen my case but nothing positive came out of it. In fact, my family members are frustrated because they don’t know what to do again to bring me out of this prison.
“It is not just possible to quantify what I have lost. Will I start with the lady I was almost concluding marriage with and even picked the wedding date before I was arrested who has abandoned me to marry another man? Should I quantify what I have lost in my blossoming ethanol chemical business or how much I have missed my family?
“I don’t blame my would-be wife for dumping me because having waited from weeks to months and years, hoping to see me regain freedom without success; she had to leave me because age is not always on the side of women. I bear no grudge against her because in fairness to her, she was visiting me at the initial stage of imprisonment but got tired and frustrated when it stretched endlessly.”
However, spending 11 years behind prison walls was not about sorrow and agony as he would be taking his final year examination with the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) to graduate in Peace and Conflict Resolutions.
For Eze, it was a case of misfortune to fortune, a case of recovering what locusts have eaten from him, a case of waking the sleeping giant in him and a case of blessing in disguise:
“I am a living example of how God can turn misfortune to fortune. After waiting for years to regain my freedom, I decided to take WAEC examination. The result was not impressive because I did not actually prepare very well.
“I sat again after adequate preparations and made an impressive result, getting six distinctions and three credits. The result encouraged me to explore more academic opportunities and that was how I gained admission into the NOUN to study Peace and Conflict Resolution. I give God the glory for supporting because I will be writing my final year examination before the end of this year.
“Perhaps, I will graduate before I leave this prison. My education was a case of opportunity meeting preparation. But I have to say that if I had this academic opportunity while I was outside, I would not have been a prison inmate today.
“The positive side of the crime that brought me to this prison has made me what I am today. I will ever remain grateful to an NGO, NUGA BEST and the churches that supported and made this achievement possible. My education would have perished as a dream if they have not intervened.”