Lagos State Controller of Prisons, Mr. Tunde Ladipo, has advised families of inmates not to bribe prison officials when visiting people in custody.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Lagos, Ladipo urged prison visitors to report to relevant authorities any official demanding money before seeing inmates.
The prison controller said that the Command had received several complaints from the public and warned warders to desist from the practice or face disciplinary action.
“We have notices in front of all our prisons that visiting is free of charge, you just have to go through the normal body search procedure to see any inmate.
“I have complaints from different people that they are being asked for charges before seeing inmates and the rate of the payment discourages them from visiting their families in the prisons.
“Especially those that are undergoing trial, the trauma of visiting a loved one in the prison is enough for the family, now asking them to pay before seeing the prisoner is another trauma,” the controller said.
Ladipo said some officers that were caught in the act were immediately transferred out of the prison while awaiting appropriate sanction from the Service.
“Any officer caught or found collecting money would be dealt with.
“I got two reports and the officers concerned were immediately transferred to another prison. Warders do not have right to collect money from families or lawyers of inmates,” he said.
Ladipo said that such inducement had resulted in the smuggling of substances into the prison.
“We have had cases that some families will visit and will smuggle in Indian hemp. When such are caught in the process, they are handed over to the NDLEA.
“For the officers involved, we are waiting for the headquarters to take appropriate measure to serve as a deterrent to others.
“Some put phones inside the food for inmates,” he said, warning that the Command would continue to do its best to get rid of bad eggs within the service.