From Govt House to Kurmawa Prison: Lessons for Sule Lamido By Rabiu Shamma
Sometime in 2013 when I was a senator at NAKSS BUK we visited Kurmawa prison as part of activities to mark Dabo Week of that year, I remembered that day vividly because of some gory scenes I witnessed in the prison, a place that is unworthy of human life, the prison was so dilapidated and old that as we entered I thought we were taken back to colonial times as most of the building inside looks like it was built during those times. The kitchen was an open air kitchen, the hospital in shambles, vocational training centers of the prison lack equipment and there was no stand by generator, the rooms overcrowded, for the one hour or so that we spent inside that place was so uneasy for me that after I returned home I could not eat or sleep on that day as I kept recollecting the dilapidated structure and the poor living conditions in the prison.
In 2015 however, I was in Dutse, the State capital of Jigawa and ‘somehow’ I found myself in the new government house built by Sule Lamido, it was indeed a very beautiful place, a luxury, what my Hausa people would call ‘Aljannar Duniya’ or paradise on earth. I commended the governor then while I enjoyed my 30 to 40 minutes in the government house Dutse.
Today I find myself involuntarily comparing and contrasting between those totally different places and just marvel at contradictions of life, Sule Lamido, the former governor of Jigawa State who only 2 months back was living flamboyantly in the new government house has been sent to Kurmawa Prison pending the continuation of his trial by EFCC. I am not here to rejoice and be happy as my fellow masses would do whenever an elite is made to face what they feel everyday, but only to call on former governor Lamido to use the opportunity to mingle with some of the prisoners, he should use this window provided and ponder on the real essence of life and also try to pay some fines for the release of his co-prisoners that have mild offences and are in the prison because of lack of money to pay stipulated fines. Lamido should more importantly see the need to become a philanthropist, he should repent and use part of his money to better the lives of the prisoners and give a facelift to the prison, the hospital, toilets, kitchen, vocational centres etc need attention, there is no harm if former governor Lamido could drive lesson from his present predicament to inject something like 100 to 200 million naira in that hell of a place at Kurmawa in order to provide some succour to the inmates, I believe there is alot to gain by doing just that. In every difficulty there are lessons to learn.
As the EFCC via the courts continue the effort to recoup some of Jigawa people money from Sule and his sons, I believe he would still have the capacity to inject something from his legal earning into Kurmawa prison that urgently needs attention and if he does that he will come out with some of his battered image restored.