Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison is a correctional facility in Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria. Established in 1955, the prison’s official capacity is 1,056, however unofficially, it holds more prisoners. Infamous for overcrowding, as of March 2018, Kirikiri is reported to have about 5,000 prisoners, 3,700 awaiting trial for over five years.
The famous Nigerian prison is home to the guilty and most times, the innocent. Ranked the most feared prison in Nigeria, making it out of Kirikiri is almost impossible because the justice system has failed its citizens. This prison based on Nigeria’s perception is synonymous with “degrading prisoners, poor living conditions, sub-standard medical care, and a very high death rate.” Kirikiri is the one place where all hope is lost, a place where a day on the outside is not guaranteed.
The need to decongest prisons keeps arising and compared to the Badagry prison 80, Ikoyi 44, Kirikiri medium 117 and Kirikiri female 13, released by the Chief Judge of Lagos State, there are thousands more over the official capacity of each prison. Numerous inmates are behind bars due to their inability to afford fines, bail and bribes. Inmates awaiting trial outnumber those who have been convicted. In every 10 inmates in Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison, 7 await trial. Kirikiri medium pris
on, in every 10 inmates, 9 await trial. The ridiculous ratio is the reality of the facility.
Having so few bed spaces forces inmates to cohabit in choking circumstances in cells that are rarely cleaned, and diseases are widespread. Money runs the system. The prison offers vocational training in tailoring, carpentry and other trades, however only to convicted inmates. Therefore, the majority are left idle, inmates detained due to one fatal encounter. The psychological trauma inmates are exposed to during the prison experience affect their overall behavior and life choices outside the facility if they do make it out. Trying to form a coping mechanism, some inmates become the system that took away their freedom. They become the oppressor often called ‘Presido’.
‘Presido’ is a slang for ‘President’, as the name implies, presido is the leader of the sovereign state that is Kirikiri yard or cell. Presido, either male or female presides over his/her territory in the prison. Just like a democratic leader, presido has a chief of staff, press secretary, special advisor, guards and aids. Presido also has police officers/the ‘dirty’ cops in his cabinet. Kirikiri is a criminal ring where hardened criminals grow in their activities, the innocent are tempted by circumstance and those who can’t take the heat get burnt. This ring houses and breeds armed robbers, rapists, fraudsters, ritualists and more. Kirikiri has also played house to famous names, they are:
Chief Bode George
Chief Olabode Ibiyinka George is a Nigerian politician and was a military Governor of Ondo State. He was also Chairman of Nigerian Ports Authority and later National Vice Chairman of the South West Zone of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In October 2009, the Ikeja High Court presided over by Justice Joseph Oyewole, found Bode George and five others guilty and sentenced to 2 years and 6 months on several counts of inflation of contract, disobedience of the lawful order and abuse of office.
Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua
General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua was a retired Nigerian Army major general who served as the Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters under General Olusegun Obasanjo’s 1977 – 1979 military government. Yar’Adua, Obasanjo, Lawan Gwadebe and others were arrested in March 1995 on allegations of plotting a coup to overthrow the Abacha regime. He was sentenced to death by a military tribunal in 1995, after calling on the Nigerian military government of Gen. Sani Abacha and his Provisional Ruling Council to re-establish civilian rule. The sentence was commuted to life in prison but died in captivity on 8 December 1997.
Clifford Orji was Nigeria’s first known cannibal and human parts dealer. His sanctuary was in a makeshift home at Toyota Bus Stop on Oshodi-Isolo Expressway. The cries of a famished woman waiting to be slaughtered gave him away. Clifford was arrested on February 3, 1999, and charged at Ebute-Meta Magistrate court February 19, that same year. Clifford Orji spent his last days in Kirikiri Maximum prison and died of unknown causes in August 2012
Al-Mustapha was the Chief Security Officer (CSO) of General Sani Abacha, a former Military Head of State. His ultimate fame came as a result of being arrested, tried, sentenced and eventually acquitted of the murder of late. Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, wife to the late Chief M.K.O Abiola, winner of the annulled June 12 election. In 1998 Al-Mustapha appeared in court alongside Abacha’s Son Mohammed and the assassin, Seargent Barnabas Jabila for the murder. He also appeared in court and was charged with other offenses such as attempted murder including being involved in the attempted murder of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2004. He was detained in Kirikiri Maximum prison while on trial. During his 12 years in prison, the murder case of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola was reopened and he was sentenced to death by hanging in 2012, however, in 2013 he was acquitted of all charges.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo
Chief Olusegun Okikiola Aremu Obasanjo is a former Military Head of State and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. One of the founding fathers of the PDP party, he has had his fair share of Kirikiri Maximum Prison. He served a jail term for a phantom coup charge by the late military dictator, Sani Abacha.
Ibinabo Fiberesima is a Nigerian actress, ex-beauty queen, event manager and former President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria. In 2009, Ibinabo was charged with manslaughter and reckless driving after a certain Giwa Suraj was killed accidentally in 2006. In March 2016 she was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment by the Federal High Court and was granted bail in the sum of N2million and two sureties alike in April of that same year.
Lanre Gentry is a middle-aged hotelier and estranged husband of Nollywood actress, Mercy Aigbe Gentry. He was charged with counts of physical assault/ domestic violence in court after failing to appear twice before. He reprimanded in Kirikiri prison pending his bail i the sum of N500,000.