Sunday, October 26, 2008

Is it human nature or.....

Someone I know just left Kiri Kiri Prison in Nigeria after a two week sojourn. The reason she was there will be another post.

She tells me she met people who have been there for months/years for offences as little as going out before 10am on environmental sanitation days. They were fined 5,000, couldn't pay and were thrown in jail. They may or may never get out. Now, I haven been taken to court as well for not using the pedestrian bridge by some crazy Kai people. They fined me 3k or something or three months in jail. I found it all quite amusing and didnt really take them serious. Igwe came to the place-some customary court in Surulere- with a truckload of soldiers. We ended up not paying a dime. Igwe chose instead to spend more money entertaining the bored soldiers than to give some judge who probably didnt pass his law exams. Now thinking back, I remember several people who had no one to call, and who begging the judges/policemen/Kai officials. Listening to my friend as she recounts the stories of the inmates at Kiri, it occurs to me that I could easily have been one of them had I no family or friends. Three months I hear is never three months so I would have been blogging from Kiri ville.

Of particular interest to me was the story of a young girl whom she befriended. I will call her Ekaette. Ekaette had a baby as a teenager in some village, couldn't cope so she left the baby with her mother and came to find some green in Lagos. She joined a brothel, which fortunately or unfortunately got raided and that's how she landed in prison. She may have doctored her story but point is she has no familyin Lagos and no idea how she will get out. Several inmates have been abandoned there and their only hope is on activists who from time to time take up their cases and see to their release. Just what kind of legal system do we run?

But that is not even the Koko of the matter. Naturally, the conditions there are bad. Supplies are limited if not inexistent. My source tells me churches,charities etc come regularly with sanitory towels,tissues, soaps, and other regular women needs but the inmates don't get a thing. The wardens, junior and senior alike take them home. It's an open secret. They do not care what you think. How on earth do these people sleep at night. I just don't freaking get it, why would anyone want to rob people that have already been robbed of so much.

I went to visit her and I had to pay(I am trying not say bribe) at four different points to be able to see her. And this was during visiting hours. If you do not pay, you are not allowed in. No wonder some of the inmates are forgotten by family, as some people may not have any money to spare. And these officers are paid a salary. How do they sleep at night?

I used to say that God should do to us as He did to Sodom and Gomorrah, destroy all the bad people in the land and if I am found wanting, I too should go.Then I repented and thought that was too harsh but when I hear stories like this, I think perhaps that's the only option. There seems to be too much evil in this country. Just where do you start from?