Indications emerged yesterday that the fundamental rights and dignity of female inmates at the Owerri Prison are now being violated following allegations that they are subjected to intimate abuses, which sometimes allegedly result to unwanted pregnancies.
But the allegation was denied by the Prison authority, which described it as untrue and malicious.
However, it was gathered that some of the female inmates, who were not pregnant as at the time they were convicted, have been delivered of babies. But prison sources said that some of the female convicts were pregnant before they were imprisoned.
A source, who did not want her name mentioned, alleged that some of the female inmates, especially those who are still awaiting trial, “buy” their freedom to move about with intimate gratification with some “corrupt prison officials”, who thereafter allow them to access privileged comforts denied other.
The source said: “The babies delivered by these inmates are either illegally adopted or outright sold to operators of baby factories. This has been going on for a long time and the authorities are not ready to check the menace,” asking: “How else the situation could be explained, that a convict could be impregnated without the knowledge of the prison officials? It is either that they are allowing their spouses to come and sleep with them in the prison or they are being impregnated by those who control them.”
When contacted, the prison’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. James Madugba, said that the allegation could not be true.
Madugba said: “I am speaking authoritatively, it is impossible to penetrate the female cell, which is constructed in such a way that it will be difficult for the female inmates to mingle with their male counterparts.
“Female inmates are kept in a different building with its own big gate guarded by female prison officials who are instructed not to allow male officials into the building.
“Female inmates who were pregnant when they enter the cell are given adequate care. When time of delivery comes, we take them to the Federal Medical Centre where they deliver their children, after which they return to prison with their babies.
“intimate abuse does not arise, it is simply not possible. You cannot even see the female cell from the open compound; it is entirely segregated from other parts of the prison.
“How can the spouse sleep with their convicted wives when they are not given the opportunity to be alone? When they visit, there are female Prison officials to listen to their discussions and the cell is finally closed by 6:0pm to visitors.”