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Nigerian Prisons Begin Confiscation of Inmates’ Cell Phones




The Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) on Tuesday in Abuja said that it had begun the recovery and confiscation of all cell phones “smuggled” into prisons by inmates.

The Spokesman of the service, Ope Fatinikun, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Fatinikun said that the renewed effort followed a directive by the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, that the service should recover all the cell phones within 30 days as part of efforts to sanitise the system.

“I can assure you that the process of recovering all these cell phones has begun and we would work round-the-clock to ensure that they are recovered within the 30 days given by the minister,’’ he said.

Fatinikun who declined to give details of the recovery process for security reasons, however, said that the operation would be carried out with utmost professionalism.

He said that despite the fact that it was illegal for inmates to possess cell phones, some of them still managed to sneak in the phones without the knowledge of officials.

He absolved the prison officials from any complicity in the illegal act, but said that security and surveillance would be tightened to ensure that the ugly trend did not continue.

The spokesman said that all the phones recovered from the inmates would be destroyed with a warning that inmates should desist from the act or face stiffer sanctions.

“From my experience I would tell you that most of these cell phones are smuggled into the premises without the knowledge of the officials.

“Some of these inmates even go as far as concealing the phones in beverage sachets, but even before the directive we had been doing our best to recover them,’’ he said.

Fatinukun said that the service would continue to do its best to reposition the service in line with international best practice inspite of the challenges.

NAN recalls that the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, had on November 21st given the Nigerian Prison Service a 30-day ultimatum to recover all cell phones being used by inmates in prisons across the country.

Photo Credit: Premium Times

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in May 1976 to gather and distribute news on Nigeria and cover events of interest to Nigeria at the international level for the benefit of the Nigerian Media and the Public.


  1. nikky

    November 25, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    How do they charge them? where do they plug them? Are they not stripped searched before taken into custody? Are they supposed to keep food with them? What are prison cafeterias meant for? Bye

  2. Charles

    November 25, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    This is an unwise uninformed idea. No. The cell phones in prisons are not smuggled in by inmates without the knowledge of the officials, they do so with the full knowledge and cooperation of the officials. Why? Because anybody who has ever spent time in kirikiri knows that the official currency of kirikiri is “kwen” which is mtn 1500 recharge card which is sent to the the marshall or head of each cell if you want to get perks like soap, tooth paste, and non prison food. The recharge cards are sold at a discount to recharge cards sellers and the cash from the procceeds are used to settle the prison staff on a weekly basis. So really who is fooling whom? The minister is ignorant but then again i guess he never spent anytime in prison. The vast majority of people in prison are victims of misadventure and police misconduct and are actually perfecting bail whilst awaiting trial. They need to keep in touch with family and their lawyers and the prison system does not effectively provide for this via regular channels

    • Rahama

      November 26, 2014 at 10:23 am

      Thanks for your comment. It all makes sense

  3. @edDREAMZ

    November 25, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Story for the gods… Rules wey they themselfs go still break….

  4. Thomas Edison

    November 26, 2014 at 10:26 am

    The reason why cell phones land up in prisons and custodial facilities are because the authorities do not have any strategy or plan to deal with the problem. The moment that you have to start to look for cell phones in prisons it just shows that you have no prevention strategy or that your plans have failed. A South African company called CellDetect has designed a strategy for prisons and custodial institutions that rests on four pillars. To read more visit

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