A former inmate of the Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Jide Odusanya, has asked
people to control their tempers, saying anger landed him in prison.
man who spent 26 years in three different prisons in the country before
he was pardoned by the Lagos State Government, said a fight over water
spillage destroyed his dream of becoming a bank manager.
Sagamu, Ogun State indigene, spoke on Tuesday at a conference organised
by the Prison and Hospital Ministry of the Redeemed Christian Church of
God at the Ogun Province 4 Headquarters, Redemption Camp.
had testified along with two others at the event, tagged, ‘From
Hopelessness to Glory,’ saying he was sentenced to death for a crime he
did not commit.
The Punch reports that the 57-year-old, who is
unmarried, said his ordeal started in June 1991 when he fought a
mechanic in the Ebute-Meta area of Lagos State where he lived with his
He said, “The mechanic usually came to fetch water in my
father’s house and I told him to always lock the tap when he was done.
This was because my room’s window was close to the tap and when water
spilled on the floor, it bred mosquitoes which entered my room.
that day, he asked why I would talk to him in such a manner. He pushed
me. I was angry and slapped him, which started a fight. The younger
brother of one of my friends came to visit me that period.
of separating the fight, the boy took a flaming wood and smashed it on
the mechanic’s head. The mechanic hit his head on the ground and
sustained some injuries. The boy and I were arrested and detained at the
Iponri Police Station for causing grievous bodily harm.
injured mechanic’s uncle, who was an army officer, said he was
interested in the case. It was during the military regime. We were
transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence
Odusanya said at the SCIID, the police changed
the case to armed robbery after the Investigating Police Officer
visited his house and found a knife which he used to cut loaves of
He noted that he and the co-accused were arraigned for
armed robbery in a magistrate court and were remanded in the Ikoyi
Prison, where they spent seven years without trial.
years, legal advice said I had a case to answer, while the boy was
discharged and acquitted. I was moved from the Ikoyi Prison to the
Kirikiri Maximum Prison.
“I was taken to a court at Igbosere where I was sentenced to death based on the knife evidence. I
was on death row for three years before former Lagos Governor, Bola
Tinubu, converted it to life imprisonment on December 31, 2001.
spent 16 years in life imprisonment. At some points, I was taken to the
Ibara Prison in Ogun State and would have been released by the then
Governor of the state, Gbenga Daniel, who asked to see my file. But the
prison authorities did not send the file to him.
years at Ibara Prison, I was returned to the Kirikiri Prison. I was
considered for pardon by the Lagos State Government and was released in
June 2017,” he added.
Odusanya said upon his release, he met
his nurse girlfriend, whom he was engaged to before the incident, adding
that she was already married with five children.
He noted that his father and mother died while he was in prison.
said during counselling, some church workers assisted him to connect
with a relative who worked with the Nigerian Railway Corporation, adding
that the relative thought he (Odusanya) was dead.
The ex-convict lamented the condition of Nigerian prisons, saying many inmates became hardened after going through the system.
prisons are not reforming anybody. Those who make the difference in our
prisons are the non-governmental organisations and churches. Anybody
that comes out of prison and changes, God must have been involved. Most
often, criminals become hardened after passing through the prison.
became a born-again Christian in prison due to the visitations of some
churches like the Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries, led by Dr
D.K. Olukoya; Pastor Tunde Bakare’s Latter Rain Assembly and the
Redeemed Christian Church of God. Pastor E.A. Adeboye’s visits to
prisons every two years and his ministrations give people like us hope.
made my O’level credits in prison and gained admission into the
National Open University of Nigeria where I started studying Cooperative
Management. I am now in 200 level. The challenge I have is that after I
was released from prison, the school withdrew a scholarship it gave me.
I have been running around to raise the school fees of N50,500 to no
avail,” he added.
Odusanya urged Nigerians to refrain from
arguments that could make them misbehave, adding that he also believed
that some malevolent forces might have had a hand in his ordeal.
Asked his plans about marriage, he said he was not bothered because he believed God had plans for everyone.
Chairman of the RCCG Prison and Hospital Ministry, Pastor Ariyo
Popoola, appealed to the government to provide conducive environment for
the youths to thrive and increase employment opportunities to reduce
crime in the country.
He also urged young people to take advantage of various empowerment programmes to become responsible members of society.
Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, who was represented
at the event by the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti,
in a presentation, asked Nigerians to always be security conscious and
avoid giving out too much personal information on the social media.