FREEDOM CHAMPAGNE, FOCUSES ON UNLAWFUL INCARCERATION
It’s evident we’re all aware of the margin that exists among citizens, as such, detrimental to a particular class. In view of this, a move in this direction of ‘freedom champagne’ is designed to address the prevailing challenges among voiceless citizens, however, this champagne focuses purely on the root course coupled with other reasons why some persons are unlawfully kept behind bars. Efforts are also made in this direction to unfold places one should avoid in the event of any circumstance, not to exclude acts that should be overlooked that have one way or the other led to false imprisonment.
Are there measures that could help society curb the rate at which innocent citizens are being incarcerated! Inmates shared experience will certainly go a long way in addressing our concerns. Howbeit, reaffirm the hopes of helpless citizens is our priority in this direction. In this regard, contents in this category will in no doubt provide us with one-on-one interactions with brethren behind bars. You will be surprised to know the number that has been denied justice due to an ill-structured legal system.
Moving from there, it will be fair to have our audience informed that this category of the site content is born out of passionate investigations, owing to the fact that the majority of inmates in these prisons are either innocent or those faced with minor crimes, yet – subject to wrought endlessly in those prisons. Also, is the painful aspect that a good number of them have not been tried by the law court, precisely those whose parents are not well to do with. Further on this couldn’t have been total justice denial if not traced to poverty and ignorance.
“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” – Frederick Douglass
Since history is our guide, it will really be a good thing to reflect on the origin of prison in a country like Nigeria. Going back to the memory lane, precisely in the eighteen century before the emergence of the British government as colonial masters, communities in this geographical region had their own legislative measures used in dealing with deviant members of the subject society that violate the law, yet there was not a word about it in the press release that these traditional institutions like the Ewedo of Benin, the Ogboni of Yoruba, and so on across other ethnic groups which constitute the country had their unique measures in place.
“In Nigeria for instance, there were traditional institutions that served as prisons before British rules, like the Ewedo of Edo group, Ogboni of Yoruba and many others in the pre-colonial Nigeria” – Aboki 2007.
Credit: Ndukwe C. (Mrs) Ph.D. and Nwuzor Chidi Iroko
But what’s the rationale! If you would ask me, have culprits imprisoned and employed mainly for street cleaning which served as their punishment. However, when the British government had assumed administrative responsibility of Lagos in 1861 it became a different calculus resulting in an organized prison system as one of the earliest government methods of administrating justice, modeled on the British system. Consequently, broad street prison eventually got opened to accommodate only 300 prisoners, which had its ordinance into force in the year 1876.
Furthermore, in the early nineteenth century, precisely in 1901, it all became clear as prisons were established in the southern part of the country, an expansion in this trajectory, equally was the introduction of the police department which controlled the old Calabar, Asaba, Sapele, Benin City without excluding Degema.
Going forward in this regard (freedom champagne) it will be fair to shed light on my first prison (Kirikiri) visit.
As regards my first prison visit one would’ve thought differently, but fortunately, access to the medium prison facility was eventually granted just on a faithful Sunday morning aided by a brother, which occurred before the celebration of the Holy Mass at St. Augustine Catholic Church situated within the prison premises. It was a different atmosphere indeed as inmates geared with this special excitement, based on the fact that they have visitors among them. But for me, the story was somewhat the opposite owing to the fact that I could not bear what I called – ‘this helpless appearance’. Precisely observed among the teenage ones whom I saw as those with this great desire to be free and breathe fresh air beyond those walls.
Also, more specific was the choir, they sang excellently and very well at musical instruments. If you would ask me, do they practice often! The outcome is born out of great passion. This is based on the fact that inmates are restricted in their cells as one of the demands of incarceration, so there you have it. Quickly after communion service, I had chat with a few of them.
So, what’s your take on freedom champagne?