Put of 40,000 detainees in the country's prisons, detainees awaiting trial in prisons in Lagos and Ogun states account for 10,000 inmates.
These inmates are currently using facilities meant for less than 5,000 people, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
NAN reports that prisons in Lagos (Kirikiri, Ikoyi and Badagry) have space for about 3,000 inmates but are currently accommodating about 6000 inmates.
Ogun State prisons, built for about 2,000 inmates, currently accommodates 5,500 inmates A cross section of inmates, who spoke to NAN, complained of harsh treatment while some had been awaiting trial for at least 10 years.
NAN investigation revealed that apart from congestion, some prisoners and suspects awaiting trial also had contagious skin diseases.
Competent sources at the Kirikiri Maximum and Ikoyi prisons said congestion in the prisons aided the spread of such diseases among inmates.
Contagious diseases including, tuberculosis and various skin diseases, HIV and AIDS as well as drug abuse had become rampant among inmates, the officials said.
Mr. Kumolu Tunde, an Assistant Comptroller of Prisons (ACG), in charge of zone A Lagos and Ogun states, however contended that "the inmates are doing well, and they get their food in sufficient quantity and quality.
"There is nothing the Nigeria Prisons Service can do about it (congestion) except the Judiciary
and the Police," Kumolu said, adding: " congestion can only be reduced by speedy trial.
On the Minister of Internal Affairs, Dr Iyorchia Ayu's, promise to refurbish 90 prison vehicles, Kumolu said the repairs had not been completed and that they would be on the road as soon as the job was completed.
P.M. News (Lagos) - January 15, 2004