By: Ibanga Isine and David Hundehyin
Mauduguri Maximum Security Sodomizing Centre
Mustapaha Abubakar, a teenage inmate at the Maiduguri Maximum Security Custodial Centre (MMSCC), who is on death row, has pleaded for an expedited execution to stop randy warders and inmates from repeatedly sodomising him.
Alternatively, Abubakar begged for clemency, claiming that he had already been infected with HIV, a new punishment not provided for under the Nigerian law.
The boy, who was sentenced to death for kidnapping at age 14, made the appeals in an emotional letter to the Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum, which was also copied to Nigeria’s Vice President Kashim Shetima..
He is the youngest of the 83 death row inmates housed in the filthy, rat-infested prison, which consists of 81 men and two women.
Due to youthful exuberance, greed, and sheer stupidity, Abubakar admitted to being lured into the get-rich-quick scheme of kidnapping for ransom in order to buy a power bike.
In the three-page letter titled “A Plea for Clemency or Death,” he claimed that the kidnapping plan not only backfired but also resulted in the untimely death of a victim who had medical complications unknown to his gang.
“I am remorseful. Oftentimes in my quiet time, I reflect over the trajectory my life has taken. While my mates in secondary schools are preparing for exams toward a meaningful future, I am here languishing in prison at the outset of my life, waiting for the hangman’s noose.
I feel ashamed of what I have done and sad to have let my family, friends, relatives and country down. Had I followed the right part, perhaps I would have turned out to be a surgeon; a dream I had once nurtured.
“But I also sense that if given another chance, my deteriorating health permitting, I will turn out to be a wiser and productive citizen. With one stroke of your pen, my derailed life can be back on track,” a part of the letter exclusively obtained by GuardPost and West Africa Weekly, read.
Shocking tales of sodomy by randy warders and inmates
Abubakar used the medium to appeal to the governor for clemency on behalf of himself and other death-row inmates who, he claimed, had earlier written to him through prison authorities without any acknowledgment of receipt.
“Your Excellency, if clemency for me within a reasonable time frame is an absolute impossibility, then I will request your Excellency to please be kind enough to sign my death warrant expeditiously instead of the current trend of a perpetual wait for execution day, coupled with the stress and abuses from the prison warders who still operate with a punitive and repressive mindset.
“My judgement was rendered in simple and unequivocal language which I understood clearly. Nothing was stated throughout the reading by the honourable judge that while waiting on death row indefinitely in Maiduguri Maximum Security Custodial Centre, I should be prostituted, and subjected to physical and mental abuses and unprotected sex from the older inmates and perverted warders.
“It is only because my religion forbids it, that I have not yet taken my life with my own hands. It is highly irresponsible of the government to mix under-aged boys with older men and then not expect anything bad to happen. The juveniles here are like lamb in the midst of wolves.
“Right now, I believe I may have already contracted the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); that can progress to full-blown Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) through unprotected anal sex from a sick inmate who was imposed on me by a prison pimp. This, in itself would make the second time a death sentence has been given to me,” Abubakar wrote.
The condemned teen urged the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) to act quickly to stop an impending HIV epidemic that could begin in prisons where sodomy without protection has become widespread.
According to him, an inmate, one Charles Okah, has consistently advised the prison authorities to provide condoms to inmates so that those secretly engaged in anal sex can protect themselves instead of pretending that all was normal.
He said Okah had also asked the authorities to put a stop to the sharing of sharp objects among inmates and staff for shaving, and nail cutting.
More abuses on death-row inmates
In addition to sodomy, Abubakar claimed MMSCC warders in violation of the law, subject death row inmates to forced labour, especially during the groundnut planting season.
He disclosed that death row inmates in Maiduguri spend the remaining days of their lives in vast farmlands that were illegally allocated to warders inside the prison yard, planting, tending and harvesting crops in the scorching sun.
He also complained that the Custodial Centre does not give him proper medical care when he is sick, adding that inmates resort to self-medication from drugs illegally dispensed by fellow inmates.
“There was nowhere in my judgement that says when in the MMSCC, I should be denied medical attention when needed. The only thing dispensed at the infirmary are excuses. This has left the inmates to help themselves through self-medication with disastrous results.
“In fact, warders actually buy medicines and give certain inmates to retail and hawk for them when these inmates haven’t been given any formal training on drug prescription.
“Drug abuse has become commonplace in the center. What is worrisome is that whenever drugs do arrive, staff, who are under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) are the major beneficiaries.
“The judge did not mention that I should be starved or given bad food when provision has been made in the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) huge food budget, now contaminated with corruption and greed.
“Feeding is becoming worse. We are fed on a handful of dry garri almost every day. The ration of parboiled beans given to inmates on death row usually comes with four teaspoons of palm oil, but even that have also ceased completely.
“In the past, during the period that Boko Haram detainees were held in MMSCC, the Nigerian Army and the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) provided a piece of beef at least once a week to all inmates, with the warders having the lion’s share. Beef, which is included in the NCoS food budget, is not provided anymore.
“The immediate-past officer in charge of MMSCC, Deputy Controller Mohammad Jibia, had insisted that the contractor met his contractual agreement by providing beef.
“After his retirement that also stopped. Food contractors are usually wives of high ranking correctional services officers,” Abubakar wrote.
Cat meat after subsidy removal
In a shocking revelation, the death-row inmate disclosed that on August 17, the Chief Warder at the Maiduguri facility, Usman Bokko directed inmates to kill and eat cats within the prison walls for protein.
According to him, Bokko, a Deputy Superintendent, said the directive to slaughter and eat cats came from “above” and that NCoS can no longer afford to provide beef due to oil subsidy removal.
Not long after the directive, he said, inmates descended on cats, including those brought in to control the facility’s army of rats and those kept as pets for their psychological therapeutic benefits.
An appeal for clemency
Abubakar drew attention to how thousands of Boko Haram inmates in the facility were pardoned, adding that some of them shared accounts of the heinous crimes they committed.
He argued that if the government could reform, rehabilitate and free those who wiped out families and displaced entire communities, he begged that he should be given another chance at life.
Abubakar admitted that he killed a man out of anger, jealousy and under an influence.
“The last act of a prerogative of Mercy by the Borno State government was in 2014 by your predecessor and now Vice President of Nigeria.
And on May 30, 2019, just a day after you were sworn into office, you hit the ground running by ordering the release of hundreds of illegally detained women, children and babies from MMSCC then known as Maiduguri Maximum Security Prison. That compassionate move you made, gave us the hope that we are still clinging to.
“Your Excellency, I will be lying if I say I am not scared of dying. But I see death as a better option than remaining inside a Nigerian prison which is the closest one can get to hell.
“If I have a choice in choosing the method of execution, I would opt for death by lethal injection as carried out in the United States of America. I was told that it’s similar to having an intravenous infusion.
“Finally, allow me to close with a word of advice to youths and teenagers reading this letter.
“Crime and violence do not pay. For taking the wrong turn, I have ruined my life. Read and study so you do not end up like me. If the governor spares my life, fine. If not, so be it.
“I may also be taken away by the disease ravaging my body. I have taken responsibility for my past and let Allah’s will be done. God bless you,” Abubakar concluded.