Authorities of the Nigeria Prisons Service,Abia Command have said that the Aba Federal Prison has about 80 insane persons in its asylum.
This fact was made known to journalists by the command public relations officer,Deputy Superintendent Kalu Ikpe.
“Sometimes even here in Umuahia where there is no facility,when after sometimes we observe a strange behaviour, we do a referral and send them to Aba where there is an asylum,” he quipped.
Ikpe made the disclosure during an interview with newsmen on Friday in Aba, stressing that the prison was taking care of the insane persons to ensure that they were stabilised enough to enable them answer their respective charges in court.
“Those who are not normal are put under observation and are made to see psychiatric doctors who work daily to ensure that their drugs are administered.
“You know that the prison inmates are our brothers, so we cannot abandon them,” he said.
Ikpe, however, stated that getting the insane inmates out of the prison, where necessary, was the duty of the Chief Judge and the courts which committed them to the prisons.
He said that the prison had no means of discovering if a potential inmate was sane or not at the point of receiving him, but would keep custody of anyone with valid arrest warrants.
“In a situation where the individual’s case becomes worse or unmanageable by us, we alert the courts who committed them to our care. “Depending on the nature of the alleged crime committed by the inmates, they are the people that can take decisions on their matters,” he said.
Ikpe said taking them to court depended on the degree of their mental health status. He said that when jail deliveries were conducted, such cases were reviewed and appropriate actions taken on them.
He gave a breakdown of inmates of the prison as at Aug. 19, as 600 inmates with only 113 convicted and serving full prison sentences.
According to him, about 374 inmates have not been convicted, while about 116 inmates are in awaiting trial status.