Ghana denies ‘unfair treatment’ of Nigerians, foreigners in its prisons

Ghana has denied claims that foreign nationals in its prisons across the country are maltreated and discriminated against by prison authorities. A Nigerian serving 130-year jail term at the Ankaful Maximum Security Prison in a message smuggled out of the prison in 2015 claimed Nigerians in Ghanaian prisons were placed under unbearable conditions, and that some have died without their families being informed. Emmanuel Emeka further alleged in the message which has now resurfaced on social media that he “witnessed over 100 deaths of Nigerian citizen in the Ghana prison,” hence appealed to the Nigerian government to intervene. Emeka was said to have used a smuggled mobile phone to send out the said message. The Central Regional Command of the Ghana Prisons Service in a statement Friday, August 30 denied the allegations, which it said came to its attention in February 2016 following which the prisoner was summoned. According to the Command, once the issue came to their attention, “the mobile phone was swiftly retrieved and disciplinary actions were instituted against him”. “It is necessary for the general public to note that, Ghana’s prison system, like the wider Ghanaian society, does not discriminate against foreigners. All prisoners, irrespective of nationality, have the right to appeal,” the statement said. It explained that the Ghana Prisons Service through paralegal staff facilitate prisoner appeal processes, and that negotiations for legal services for inmates “are mostly initiated and sustained by relatives of incarcerated persons. “The Ghana Prisons Service has no control over private legal practitioners” it added. The Regional Command described as “baseless untruths”, Emeka’s allegation of rampant death of Nigerian nationals in Ghana’s prisons. The average general death rate of prisoners in Ghana, it said has fluctuated between 0.20-0.30 per cent of their total population for close to a decade. “On ration served to inmates, the Service ensures that all prisoners are served with three meals daily. There is no occasion where inmates are served with gari without an accompanying sauce or soup. It assured reiterated its commitment towards providing “a safe and humane prison system that rids the society of criminal elements and also provide avenues for prisoner rehabilitation and reformation.

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