By Christian Obioko
Neglect of prison authorities at the Ogwashi -Uku Prison in Delta State has led to the death of Smart Ohuzu, an awaiting trial inmate. Smart died on September 28.
According to investigation, the victim was just remanded in prison by a Delta State Magistrate court. He had been sick for two months.
Worried by his poor state of health, fellow inmates had been begging the prison authorities to do something about his failing health. The authorities in response, called on the cell leader to raise the sum of N5,000 from cell mates so they can transport him to the Ogwashi- Uku General Hospital.
The poor prisoners, eager to save their mate, contributed money. Some contributed N10, N50, etc and they were able to raise N3,500 leaving a balance of N1,500 against the demanded sum. Failure to raise the N5000 got the prison officers angry and made them refuse to rush Smart Ohuzu to the hospital.
As the inmates saw the abandoned Smart Ohuzu on the floor wreathing in pain, they rushed back to the cell and one quickly handed in the balance N1,500 to the officers so they could attend to the very sick man.
Getting the hospital, Smart was checked and referred to the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba or Okwe General Hospital.
The medical doctor was said to have complained that the hospital will stop accepting inmates from Ogwashi Uku Prison as they are always brought in at the point of death.
Thereafter, rather than taking him to the recommended hospital, with chains on his legs, they led him into the Green Maria (Black Maria) back to the prison yard pleading lack of manpower.
Smart was then chained and left in the cold. He struggled and died unaided with tears in his eyes three hours after he was dumped in the prison yard.
His fellow inmates though horrified, cannot complain for fear of being put in another cell or punished.
Pictures attached are of inmates awaiting trial rescued from the prison last year. Unfortunately, they too died and many in that state are innocent until proven guilty.
Awaiting trial inmates are dying daily but nobody is asking questions.