A Lagos-based lawyer and activist, Chief Malcom Omirhobo, has sued the prison authorities over alleged denial of access to prison inmates. The suit, filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos, the Comptroller General of Nigeria Prison Service, Lagos Controller of Prisons and one Mr. Yomi Oluwaniyi as defendants.
Omirhobo is seeking a declaration that the refusal by the 3rd respondent, to allow him access to prison inmates to afford them free legal services, constitutes an infringement on his fundamental rights.
He is seeking a declaration that the Kirikiri medium prison is a public place and so, the third defendant has no right to deny him access.
He is also seeking a declaration that his intimidation by the 3rd respondent by hitting his chest and further preventing him from representing prison inmates is a flagrant violation of his right.
In a supporting affidavit, Omirhobo averred that he had always been granted easy access to the prison and its inmates without hindrance. He claimed that on May 26, he visited the Kirikiri Medium prison as usual to offer free legal services to inmates who could not afford to pay.
According to the plaintiff, before he could gain entrance to the prison gate, the 3rd respondent stopped him and requested to know about his movement.
He averred that he politely replied, saying “I know my way already, thank you.”
The plaintiff swore that the 3rd respondent, who felt unsatisfied with the answer, pushed him backward and insisted that he must explain his movement, adding that he felt humiliated by the sudden attack.
He stated that he immediately requested to make a report to the officer in charge of the prisons and was denied access to the senior officer due to continuous interference by the 3rd respondent.
According to the plaintiff, the prison is a public place and its officers have no right to deny any legal practitioner access to inmates to offer free legal services.
He, therefore, demands a public apology by the respondents on the alleged ill treatment.
In addition, Omirhobo claims the sum of N1million and N25, 000 against the respondents as both damages for rights infringement and cost of the legal action.
He seeks an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from further restraining him from gaining access to prison inmates.
No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.
Source: The Guardian