Monday, September 10, 2007

My Prison Visit

I got the call on Saturday morning. I was still sleeping. Saturday mornings are sleep in mornings for me. No waking up early to prepare for work, oh what joy!

The caller was Brother K from the Prison Chaplaincy. The Prison Chaplaincy is a society in my church. Their activities include Prison visitations, Evangelization and so on. I joined the Prison chaplaincy sometime last month after I decided I didn’t want to be a nominal christian -Sunday church goer anymore. However since I joined I had only attended meetings once (My bad, I know). At the only meeting I attended there had been discussions on plans to visit the Kiri-Kiri Medium and Maximum Prisons in Lagos and since I didn’t attend after then, I had missed going with them on their visit to The Medium prisons.

Brother K had called to inform me that they were visiting the Maximum Prisons on Sunday 9th September (Yesterday). He also enquired why I haven’t been present at the meetings since the last time I came. I apologized and promised him I was going to come along with them on the Maximum Prisons visitation.

Sunday morning, I dressed up and headed down to the agreed venue from where we would set off. I was excited. I hadn’t visited a prison before but I had watched some prison movies ( I saw Prison break recently, a great watch. If you haven’t seen it…u need to!) and I had an idea what to expect.

We got to the prisons at about 11am. When they learnt I hadn’t been to a prison before, every one went out of their way to show me one or two things, they pointed out the Medium prisons to me, showed me some prisoners returning from their early morning duties, I think they had gone to cut grass cos I saw them with hoes and cutlasses.

Finally, we reached the Maximum Prisons. We were asked by the wardens to leave our bags and phones at the gate. Phones are not allowed inside they tell us. The females were frisked by the female wardens. The male wardens also frisked the guys to make sure we were not sneaking any contraband inside,lol.

Inside the Prisons now, I ask a question about the prisoners. I am quickly corrected that we don’t say prisoners rather they are called inmates. In fact, I am told that as long as we are inside the prison walls, we are also inmates. Hmmm… Princesa the inmate,lol.
We head for the Catholic church inside the Prisons where there is a mass celebration going on. Actually, it was a Feast day. For those who are not catholics…Feast days are certain days set aside in the catholic church to celebrate certain memorable events. Yesterday was the feast of the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary so the idea was to celebrate with the prisoners.

Mass over , the feast proper begins. Some other church groups had also come on their own and they brought food too so there was lots of food and drinks to go round. We had come with about 5 big coolers of rice. Funny enough I always had this impression that prisoners were hungry looking, malnourished people but these prisoners I was looking at were healthy looking and well dressed (I guess they were on their Sunday best). Some even spoke very good English. Some of them weren’t even as thrilled as I thought they would be at the mountain of steaming rice and chicken that was being served. They would eat the chicken and abandon the rice in the plate. I was shocked!

Aha! Some were very enterprising. There were those selling some beautiful hand crafted hand Fans, some were selling wooden Key holders. It was nice to see that they were putting their talents to good use.

I also met a young man, Micheal. He had come to toast me. What was that line he used? Ok ..”Sister, while you were serving , you looked so beautiful I wanted to come help you”lol. Initially I just pretended not to hear and went on walking but he just wouldn’t relent. He just kept on following me. See me see wahala o! Prison love!! I decided to talk to him after all it was part of the evangelizing-showing love to those that need it. He told me how he came to be in prison. According to him, he used to work in a bank in Abuja. There was a fraud in his bank and he was indicted by EFCC. The case hadn’t gone to court yet but he had hopes that in about a month’s time he would be out on bail. Why it has to take that long…I don’t know!

Anyway, Micheal gave me piece of paper on which he had written down a phone number and begged me to call him. Na wa o! I tire for this guy!! I asked him if he had a phone and he told me he did but it was against prison laws so it was always hidden and on vibration. In the spirit if LOVE, una sister collect the paper put for bag o! Now I keep having this image of the poor guy sitting down in his lonely cell waiting for my call and am feeling guilty that I promised to call. Maybe I will call him…just to wish him luck… or what do you think guys?

Oh! I forgot to tell you I saw Pastor King! The pastor that set some members of his congregation ablaze. He was sentenced to death by hanging but the guy I saw yesterday did not look like he would ever be put to death by anyone. He was strolling along the prison grounds and he had this air of arrogance around him. Even the Prison officials-wardens and co. were all hailing him: “His Holiness, His Holiness!!” One of the inmates told us he was untouchable there as he always doled out money to the officials and prisoners.

All in all, it was an experience for me and when we finally left around 4 o’ clock, I was happy that I went after all. I was also thankful to God that I could go where I want, sleep when I want, eat when/what I want. These are things that I take for granted but some people don’t have it.
So am happy, I am FREE!!!

54 comments:

Obi said...

Hmmm....been a while since I popped one of these...
Funny enough I just started watching Prison break yesterday..I no envy you..Good thing youre doing tho...you done your good deed for the week..so now you can feel free to be bad..!!

princesa said...

@obi,lol @ me being free to be bad.
Prison Break...nice. You will def love it!

Manda said...

mmmh, why didn't u take pictures? Reverend king is still alive? Na wa o! plz can u take me the next tyme u're going? thank u in advance.

Aijay said...

Wow! Babes I must commend u for being active in church. I'm also catholic but I havent been to church in ages.(need to step up)

I guess the visit made u appreciate ur freedom.
Make sure u holla @ ur latest toaster. Don't keep him waiting in vain for ur love. Lol.
Ur pics are hot!
Ama kwam umu nwoke na cho ilu nwanyi. Isi ha bia this December? Lol.

OUI C'EST MOI said...

visited a detention centre once.. i cried on the spot

princesa said...

@manda, lol! Fear no let me take pics o! You want make them wooze me abi?? My craze for foto neva reach that level o!
Will let you know when the next visit is if you like.

@aijay,lol @ hollering my latest toaster. Thanks for the commendation, you need to step up o!
LMAO @ "isi ha bia this december"! O wu otu ahu ka eshi a lu nwanyi be unu?!?!
How far with our birthday plans na?

princesa said...

@oui c'est moi, awwh! I couldnt cry o! The inmates looked happy(i think).

A Kel called Wonder ...... said...

Hummm visited 2 prisons all in the course of duty (work). The state of the ones in Nigeria are very very sad. It smelt so badly infact i couldn't even bare, and they didnt let the client come out.

For the one i went to in UK, i didnt believe it, it was actually a detention centre, but Christ the level of security.....

Your right Princess we must thank God that we are FREE.

princesa said...

@a kel...hmmm ok i didnt go to their cells so i cant tell what state it was. The security is only normal dear...its a prison!!
Freedom good o!

Nyemoni said...

Thank God we are free! I've been to the Prison in PHC, sorry sight I tell ya! THANK GOD FOR LIBERTY!

Nyemoni said...

YOU saw REV. DR. PASTOR. KING! Lol...Naija sha...I betcha nothings going to happen to him... God save us!

princesa said...

@nyemoni, i saw him o! The guy just dey denge pose for us sha!
I didnt have ur number, would have called to wish you a happy birthday dear.

Queen of My Castle said...

Wow, sounds very interesting. I have never stepped foot into a prison. Like you, I am very grateful for my freedom and pray that none of my loved ones are sent to prison.

On another note...I am loving your photo slide show. The Many Facets of Princesa! LOL

exschoolnerd said...

about calling ur prison toaster...maybe u can just call to say hi sha!..if u feel like u dnt wnt him to have ur number u cud call from a pay phone or something.

must have been an experience.i sort of wish i was there...not there as a prisoner oh...i mean on a visit...by the way shey rev. king no toast u?

30+ said...

So they call Rev King "His Holiness", o ga o, wonders shall never end. Interesting that the prisoners (sorry inmates) are eating chiken but not rice (lol).

Mrs Somebody said...

Hmmmmm.........strange because I was thinking about rev.king yesterday wondering whether or not he had been sentenced.Somehow I just thought he was still in jail and nothing had happened and here you are confirming it.
The inmate toaster.....send him a text message but definately not from your phone.

Kpakpando said...

This girl! U hard o. Abeg don't call prison bobo, yo know he's had time to practice his wraps, I will not be in support of you marrying an inmate o. So you saw that crase man using God's name in vain ehn? Wonderful

diary of a G said...

see, that's why I respect you so much Princesa, you are truly the people's Princess! I also commend you for taking time out of your life to do something that isn't as glorifying as going to the club
like most shallow females would.
You truly are ""REAL"" and I don't say it just to be talking...
I still remember you saying you were the type to eat plantain in Prada lol
God bless you girl
and about your toast I can understand ur guilt but I think, like you said he's in a position where he'll most likely to want to
lean on you..and you don't exactly want that ...I hate to sound prejudice but, this is a situation to approach cautiously...my addy is to have a male evangelist call on your behalf...then maybe you can call from a # not your own just to say wad-up once or something...
cos you're a babe and any men could easily become stuck on you...so am only saying this cos your comfort safety comes first...U dig?
I'll holla

Mommy said...

Huh! When did you update that you already have 18 comments? I am positive I visited like 5 times yesterday...no update...
Big ups to you. You did not even break down. I visited a prison once. I cried so hard the wardens had to send me out. There was this handsome, tallll, foine brother a warder was torturing out there in the open. The way the warder was just slapping the guy, I just saw hatred. Foine boy was trying to explain something to lanky, sickly looking warder. Warder no even wan hear. At the end, foine boy just broke down crying and that was when I started crying too. The sight was just painful. I have never been within ANY prison wall again after that day. Truely, it is a good thing to be FREE. I feel you on that one.

NikkiSab said...

Dere is no sweeter nectar dan d fabulous taste of freedom. Its nice of u to volunteer for such visits and mite i add bold. Mami sister i no go lie u say as i see prison visit my eye and my heart no gree process the info. I av a wild imagination so all sorts of tins like.......... fashi o. Rev. King? I wonder wat is d justice in killing anoda psn from d courts paerspective and d morons own too. If d court tink its justice, i wonder who ans to God? Are u feeling me?

princesa said...

@castle queen,Thanks and Amen to ur prayer.
You should try visit one soon dear.

@exschoolnerd, lol @ Rev. King toasting me...fear go let am??
Looks like we are thinking the same thing. I will call him sometime and from a pay phone.

@30+, lol, Yes o! these ones get choice!!

@mrs somebody, na so ! the guy still dey bubble for KIri-Kiri. Hmmm...a text...sounds like a good idea too.

princesa said...

@kpakpando,lol! I no want marry inmate too o but i no want make somebody commit suicide cos of me too!

@DOG, Awwwh! Am blushing seriously here dude! Thanks for all the nice words. Am coming over to u soon.
Thanks for looking out for my safety too.

@mommylistic mommy,you say he was tall, handsome and foine...eh?? I would have cried too!

@nikkisab, my sister i dey try feel you o! So what you are saying is they shouldnt have condemned him to death???

Manda said...

i dream about prison o! after make u come my blog!

princesa said...

@manda, lol! Na me cause am?? Oya talk true, u marry prisoner for the dream???

pamelastitch said...

quite an experience!!!!

you know - ppl always talk of naija prisons as really bad comparable to Hell but what you described seem almost normal...

Could it be that our prison systems are improving??

bighead said...

Don't worry Michael would probably be fine without you. No go put yourself for wahala O! And if you want to still call in the spirit of "sisterhood", hide your number or use a public phone and don't give out personal info so you could end the communication if he misbehaves.

As for king, leave them. All prisoners are not equal. Its the reality of naija.

princesa said...

@pammy, maybe they mean the cells like a kel said but the guys i saw seemed pretty ok though one of them who was dressed in white linen(he didnt look like a prisoner) told me he missed his freedom.

@bighead, noted. U do well o!

Sparkle said...

maybe I'll start watching prison break too
hahaha na wa o Prison Love...hmm hmm hmm...I'm sure u will make Michael feel like d happiest guy in that prison if u call him...block ur number o cos if u don't hahaha d guy go begin call u day and nite...rain and sun, fire and water
LMAO

who is Pastor King?
I've never heard of him...but why on earth did he set his members ablaze? chei!

Sparkle said...

by d way...which song on my playlist do u like?

laspapi said...

nice blog, princesa. I've been in a couple of prisons for the same reason you went, the Abak and Ilesha Prisons. It's been years, though

princesa said...

@sparkle, pastor King used to be the head of one church like dat in lagos here. the man story ..eh i no fit talk am for here o! Anyway he set 4 of his members ablaze for allegedly commiting fornication.

I particularly liked 'Everyday' and 'Its over'... who sang them sef?

@laspapi,thnx for popping in.

catwalq said...

our very own Kirikiri memoirs...
your toaster is a criminal?
with our legal system, it is quite possible that many innocents within those walls have been wrongfully incarerated.
Pastor King...hmn, his time is coming

Sparkle said...

"Everyday" is from the movie "High School Musical 2"

"It's Over" is from the movie "The Cheetah Girls 2"

I just like anything with music in it...even if it's 2 yrs old singing...I like it if the songs are nice...I'll find where I can download d song and send d link to u

Sparkle said...

go check my blog...I just posted the video of the two songs

Olamild said...

Interesting is all I can say

femme said...

weldone o. you try.
the only way i'll go to a prison is dragged and screaming.
i should have read this post first before manda's own cos it would have answered my question.
so u really saw rev.king?
so he's a 'big boi' in kiri- kiri now?
pls dont call that guy o. no use ur hand enter another one.

princesa said...

@sparkle, ok am coming over.

@catwalq, very possible dear...Many Innocents!

@olamild,glad u found it interesting.

@femme, lol @ dragged and screaming. Pastor King na BIG boi o!

chicala said...

wow, that was really kind of u( to have gone there), not many pple would want to.

am not too sure about calling the 'inmate' guy o, if u have to like evry1 said call with a different number( sure u know that already) and maybe preach the word to him or sth, lol. That way he'll know u'r uninterested.

Na wa o , so they havent sentenced that so called pastor. I dont even know what to say, i hope he doesnt get away with it.

GERALD said...

That was good of you...
I wish I was in Nigeria I would join you..lol

NikkiSab said...

Sth like dat. I dont know does death have to beget death? I undstd dia crimes are heinous(pardon bad spellin). but...... i don't tink its justifiable. Life imprisonment is a super dupa punishment. Just my thots.

diary of a G said...

@P
loved your comment @Mommy,
that was slick

catwalq said...

Catwalq International Academie III is here!!!!!

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

Just the word Kiri Kiri gives me shivers!!

So you have a loverboy over there, eh? na wa for you, oh!

I am glad that you had a positive experience, though!

princesa said...

@chicala, thanks.
@gerald,join me?? Dont be another manda dat changed her mind in 24 hrs o!

@DOG, thanks.
@catwalq, yipee!!! I hope i get casted in this series!! Coming over soon.

@solomomsydelle, No o! I no get loverboy for prison o! Kiri-Kiri...used to give me the shivers too, not anymore now.

princesa said...

@nikkisab...hmmm...dat question hard o! Make we leave am for God sha.Life imprisonment sounds okay.

AN IBO DUDE'S CORNER said...

wow
what an experience.
had a similar one when i was serving but it was a smaller prison (Akure prisons) and also the reman center also in Akure. It was part of my Community Development programme. everything u described is just as it is over there but i bet Akure own was dirtier by far

AN IBO DUDE'S CORNER said...

forgive my typo above, i meant "remand center" not "reman center"

princesa said...

@anibodude, no wahala. Just dropped a comment on ur blog. Get back at me.

Sparkle said...

what's your email address?

Omosewa said...

Lmao@His Holiness, buhahahahahahahahaha see levels o. Eeeyah, really nice experience men. Awww Micky..lmao@prison love.

Girl, i meant am i late with the wedding websites, see you calling my blog stale, i'll beat u o, maybe i'll start a new one, blogging takes a lot of energy jare.. Hope u r doing great!

princesa said...

@omosewa, lol! I dint understand then. Am cool babes.

Afrobabe said...

You've been very busy girl....

Babawilly said...

Nice to read. Been in prison once - clinical posting to Benin Prison. Deplorable conditions. Saw Fela there, so that made up for it.
Here in the UK, done a few shifts in prison. Na so so lock and key.
Went into one female wing and they all went mad like say them nver see man before. Fear catch me.
Apostle Paul wrote most of his letters from prison, so I guess prison ministry is very important. Well done, Dear My sister

Naapali said...

So have you called Michael?