Officials at the Kaduna custodial centre have demanded that relatives of inmates who died during the April 1 violent protest at the centre must sign an undertaking absolving the authorities of being responsible for the deaths.

The undertaking is part of the conditions set by the centre’s management to be met by the late inmates’ families before the bodies are released to them.

A copy of the letter is addressed to the controller of corrections at the Kaduna State corrections headquarters, through the deputy controller of corrections in charge of the centre. It is accompanied by an affidavit sworn to by a deponent.

Apart from stating in the letter that the inmates died of natural causes, the signatory is also to pledge that they would not institute any legal case against the authorities of the centre over the inmates’ death.

The undertaking reads in part; “On behalf of the family of the above named inmate (late), we are pleading with the Nigerian Correctional Service to release his body to me for burial, and that we don’t have anything against the Nigerian Correctional Service about his death.

“We believe that he died a natural death.”

This is happening despite the fact that the report of the probe panel, the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) claimed it set up to investigate the fatal protest, is yet to be submitted.

While the deputy controller of corrections in charge of the centre, Usman Ahmed, said he would comment on the matter only if our reporter could disclose the source of the information, the centre’s welfare officer, Abubakar Sadangi, confirmed the development.

Mr Sadangi made the confirmation believing he was talking to a member of the family of a victim whose relations are yet to comply with the centre’s instruction.

A protest was held by inmates of the custodial centre on April 1 over the fear of the spread of coronavirus disease at the facility, and the government’s failure to urgently decongest the custodial centres as earlier promised.

The protest had gone out of hand leading to full-blown violence, which left four inmates dead.

The centre had continued to deny the fatalities recorded during the riot, insisting that no life was lost.

However, following a report by Premium Times newspaper on April 4, detailing the death of the inmates and injuries sustained by NCS officers during the crisis, the management made a volte-face, declaring that ‘only four inmates died.’

But rather than giving details of the dead inmates, a statement signed by the controller of Kaduna State correctional headquarters, Sanusi Danmusa, said those who died as a result of injuries sustained from the incident were condemned inmates and not those awaiting trial.

This claim has also been found to be false but the centre is yet to provide details of the victims to the public.

Three of the bodies have been collected.

Culled from Premium Times

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