While a false accusation or not being arraigned have kept many in prison hence the recent campaign for prison reforms and decongestion, that of a 48-year-old man, Derrick Addai, was over a typographical error.
The Nigerian man convicted of drug peddling in Thailand, reportedly spent five years and six months in Thai prison before being repatriated to Nigeria in 2005 following the intervention of the then President Olusegun Obasanjo. He however had more time in Nigerian prison, as a typographical error struck out his name from the list of pardoned inmates approved by the Presidency. He got his freedom back afer the Osile of Oke-Ona, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso, and the Director General of the Prison Rehabilitation Mission International, Bishop Kayode Williams intervened.
Speaking after getting his freedom which took 14 years to come, Addai, a native of Cross River State, said;
“I spent 14 years in a Nigerian prison after I had spent five years and six months in Thailand’s prison from the year 2000, and I came back to Nigeria in 2005. It is quite unfortunate that my name was omitted from the list they brought then, and I spent time and money writing several letters for it to be corrected but, it did not work out.
“It happened that when they brought the list from Aso Rock, the letter was sealed and I was there and they asked me to open it. When I opened the letter, I saw that there were 30 names on the list, I just dropped it and left. After a few minutes, we were called back that one name was missing but that the numbers were complete.
“We called Obasanjo, Senator Lekan Mustapha and other people involved. They asked the officials to bring the letter to the office and when the man who wrote the names saw it, he insisted that that was not the list he sent and asked me to give him two days and the two days never came till now.”
On his experience in prison, he said;
“You can’t put people in prison without giving them anything. No work; they are just abandoned and earn nothing.
“No matter the condition or the environment, they should allow prisoners to do their handwork, but, when the prisoners don’t have any work or something they are doing there, when they come out, they will have nothing to do.”