Reps advocate adequate healthcare for Nigerian prison inmates

The House of Representatives on Thursday urged the Federal Government to provide quality healthcare services for prison inmates across the country.

This followed a 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).

Moving the motion, Okafor said that non-availability of drugs and inadequate medical personnel in health facilities in the prisons had resulted in avoidable death of inmates.

He said that due to the comatose nature of the facilities, inmates depended on donations and outreach programmes from churches, mosques and voluntary organisations to access healthcare.

According to him, inmates at times, have to buy drugs from vendors, some of whom sold fake, sub-standard 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.

“The deplorable health situation in the prisons is a major public health hazard which without intervention, could result in more deaths and would amount to unsolicited death sentence to prison inmates.

“Inmates are still entitled to their fundamental human right to quality healthcare services even while in prison as envisaged by section 12 (1) of the Prisons Act, 2004,” Okafor said.

After contributions by members, the House, therefore, urged the Ministry of Interior, and the Health counterpart as well as Comptroller-General of Prisons to intervene by providing quality healthcare services for prison inmates.

The House mandate its Committee on Interior and one on Healthcare Services to embark on oversight to prisons with a view to finding permanent solution to poor healthcare services in the facilities.

The Committees are to report back within three weeks.

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