A teenage boy identified as Mustapha Abubakar, who was sentenced to death by hanging, has appealed to the Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, for clemency.
SaharaReporters reported that the 15-year-old requested speedy execution from the governor, saying he is being sexually abused by older inmates and warders.
In a letter sent to the governor, Abubakar of Cell 6, Unit 1, Cluster 2 at the Maiduguri Maximum Security Custodial Centre in Borno State, urged the governor to sign his death warrant expeditiously if his appeal for clemency would not materialize “within a reasonable time frame”.
Abubakar was sentenced to death by hanging at age 14 after he was reportedly lured into a get-rich-quick scheme through kidnapping for ransom led to the death of the hostage.
The teenage boy who is the youngest inmate at the facility is on death row awaiting execution at the facility along with 81 men and two women.
In his letter, he alleged that he was being “prostituted, subjected to physical, mental and unprotected sexual abuse from the older inmates and perverted warders.” According to him, he would have committed suicide if not that his religion forbids it. He lamented that it “is highly irresponsible of the government to mix underage boys with older men and not expect anything bad to happen”.
“The juveniles here are like lamb in the midst of wolves,” he said
“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.
Through this open letter, I wish to draw the attention of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) to respond as a matter of urgent national interest to what might become an epidemic starting from the Correctional facilities in Nigeria where sodomy without protection has become rampant.
An inmate here, one Charles Okah, has even advised the authorities to provide condoms to inmates so that those engaged in anal sex secretly can protect themselves instead of pretending that all is normal. The same man also asked the authorities to put a stop to the sharing of sharp objects by inmates and staff alike for shaving, and nail cutting.
There was also nothing stated in my judgement that during this waiting period, I would be on forced/slave labour in prison. Especially during the groundnut planting season, the inmates are forced to toil in the privately owned plots of farmland the warders have allotted to themselves inside the prison yard. They are made to work under the blazing sun and in the end, harvest crops for free.
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.”
Abubakar said in his youthful exuberance, he “allowed greed, and sheer stupidity on his part to be lured into a get-rich-quick scheme of kidnapping for ransom in order to buy a power bike. Unfortunately, not only did the plan backfire, he said it led to the untimely death of the hostage, a fellow human being who had medical complications without our knowledge at the time”.
“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. he said
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.
Your Excellency, I use this medium to plead for clemency within a reasonable time frame. I also plead on behalf of the other inmates on death row who had sent you a letter through the authorities of this centre which was never acknowledged because it probably was not delivered to you in the first place.
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, mental and unprotected sexual abuse 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.”