By Oladipupo Mojeed
The House of Representatives has urged the federal government to provide quality healthcare services for prison inmates across the country.
The green chamber made the call following the unanimous adoption of a motion on “Need to Address the Deplorable State of Healthcare Service in Nigerian Prisons”’ sponsored by Rep. Chike Okafor (Imo-APC) on Thursday.
According to Okafor, non-availability of drugs and inadequate medical personnel in health facilities in the prisons have resulted the avoidable deaths of inmates.
He added that the inmates depended on donations and outreach programmes from churches, mosques and voluntary organisations to access healthcare.
According to him, inmates sometimes have to buy drugs from vendors, some of whom sell fake, substandard or adulterated drugs with their deleterious consequences.
“This has resulted in the frequent outbreak of epidemics in the prisons and the high death rate recorded among inmates.
“It is evident in the over 32 deaths of inmate recorded in 2016 at a Lagos prison owing to unavailability of quality medical care.
“The condition of our prisoners could be said to be near death sentence as many have died because of lack of proper healthcare services.
“No wonder, in the last one year over 900 inmates died across the country, with one state accounting for 32 deaths,” he stated on the floor of the house.
Deplorable state of Nigerian prisons
He also pointed out that inmates are still entitled to their fundamental human right .
After contributions by members, the House, therefore, urged the Ministry of Interior, and its Health counterpart as well as Comptroller-General of Prisons to intervene by providing quality healthcare services for prison inmates.
The House mandated its Committee on Interior and the one on healthcare services to embark on oversight visits to prisons with a view to finding a permanent solution to poor healthcare services in the facilities.
The committees are to report back in three weeks.