Colonial Systems of Control: Criminal Justice in Nigeria

Colonial Systems of Control: Criminal Justice in Nigeria

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Overview

A pioneering book on prisons in West Africa, Colonial Systems of Control: Criminal Justice in Nigeria is the first comprehensive presentation of life inside a West African prison. Chapters by prisoners inside Kirikiri maximum security prison in Lagos, Nigeria are published alongside chapters by scholars and activists. While prisoners document the daily realities and struggles of life inside a Nigerian prison, scholar and human rights activist Viviane Saleh-Hanna provides historical, political, and academic contexts and analyses of the penal system in Nigeria. The European penal models and institutions imported to Nigeria during colonialism are exposed as intrinsically incoherent with the community-based conflict-resolution principles of most African social structures and justice models. This book presents the realities of imprisonment in Nigeria while contextualizing the colonial legacies that have resulted in the inhumane brutalities that are endured on a daily basis.
Keywords: Nigeria, West Africa, penal system, maximum-security prison

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780776618234
Publisher: University of Ottawa Press
Publication date: 04/18/2008
Series: Alternative Perspectives in Criminology
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 534
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Viviane Saleh-Hanna is Assistant Professor of Crime and Justice Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Dr. Saleh-Hanna is a criminologist turned abolitionist.  Coptic and Palestinian in origin, Canadian in citizenship and PanAfricanist in her heart, she is an activist-scholar.  Prior to moving to the United States, she lived in Nigeria and worked with prisoners along the West African coastline.  Her book, Colonial Systems of Control:  Criminal Justice in Nigeria (2008) is the first to include first-hand accounts by prisoners in West Africa and the first to provide an in-depth analysis of life inside West African prisons.
Dr. Saleh-Hanna is an activist scholar and an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Crime and Justice Studies at the University of Massachusetts, in Dartmouth. Prior to moving to the United States, she lived in Nigeria and worked with prisoners along the West African coastline. Her book, Colonial Systems of Control: Criminal Justice in Nigeria (2008) is the first to include first-hand accounts by prisoners in West Africa and the first to provide an in-depth analysis of life inside West African prisons. Dr. Saleh-Hanna serves on the board of editors for the Journal of Prisoners on Prisons and the African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies.
Chris Affor wrote “My Story” and “A Tribute to Solidarity: My Oasis” while serving time in Kirikiri maximum security prison in Lagos State, Nigeria. He was a member of the PRAWA programme, which works to build solidarity among prisoners. Chris continues to serve time on awaiting-trial holding charges.
Uju Agomoh has a PhD in criminology and prison studies (University of Ibadan, Nigeria), an MPhil degree in Criminology from the University of Cambridge, England, and an LLB from the University of London (Queen Mary and Westfield College). She is involved in monitoring human rights violations within African penal systems.
Biko Agozino is a professor of sociology, Coordinator of the Criminology Unit and the Acting Head of Behavioral Sciences at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. His books include Black Women and the Criminal Justice System (1997), and Nigeria: Democratising a Militarised Civil Society (coauthored, 2001). He is the series editor for the Ashgate Publishers Interdisciplinary Research Series in Ethnic, Gender, and Class Relations and the editor-in-chief of the African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies.
Clever Akporherhe wrote “My Nigerian Prison Experience” after being released from Kirikiri medium security prison. These experiences describe his time as a convicted prisoner. Since then Clever has been arrested by the Nigerian Police Force and is currently serving time in Kirikiri medium security prison on awaiting-trial holding charges. He has orally communicated that prison conditions experienced by awaiting-trial prisoners are far worse than those he experienced as a convicted prisoner.
Sylvester Monday Anagaba wrote “The System I Have Come to Know” and “Man’s Inhumanity to Man” while serving time on awaiting-trial holding charges in Kirikiri maximum security prison in Lagos State, Nigeria. He passed away in 2004 in the maximum security prison hospital. Prisoners have confirmed that he was told before he died that he had earlier been diagnosed with AIDS. Prison officials failed to inform him of that diagnosis until shortly before his death. He was never provided with any medication.
O. Oko Elechi is an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at the Prairie View A&M University. He received his PhD from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada. He also holds two degrees from the University of Oslo, Norway. His writings on restorative justice, community policing, and African indigenous justice systems have been extensively published in international journals, book chapters, and anthologies. He is also the author of Doing Justice without the State: The Afi kpo (Ehugbo) Nigeria Model (2006).
Osa Eribo wrote “Another Face of Slavery” while imprisoned in Kirikiri maximum security prison in Lagos State, Nigeria. He was a soldier in the Nigerian army, and upon demanding proper medical attention after sustaining injuries during peacekeeping missions in Sierra Leone and Liberia. He was later taken to Egypt for a supposedly medical treatment, then was brought back to Nigeria, charged with “mutiny,” and imprisoned. He has since been released from prison due to interest in his case by several human rights activists and lawyers.
Mechthild Nagel is a professor of philosophy at the State University of New York, College at Cortland, and a senior visiting fellow at the Institute for African Development at Cornell University. She is the author of Masking the Abject: A Genealogy of Play (2002), coeditor of Race, Class, and Community Identity (2000), and coeditor of Prisons and Punishment: Reconsidering Global Penality (2007). Nagel is the editor-in-chief of the online journal Wagadu: A Journal of Transnational Women’s and Gender Studies.
Igho Odibo wrote “June 14, 2003,” while serving time in Kirikiri maximum security prison in Lagos State, Nigeria. He has not been convicted of any offence. He is currently living with HIV/AIDS and continues to struggle for access to medication and due process.
Julia Sudbury is a professor of ethnic studies at Mills College, a liberal arts women’s college in Oakland, California. From 2004 to 2006 she was the Canada Research Chair in Social Justice, Equity, and Diversity at the University of Toronto. Julia is the author of Other Kinds of Dreams: Black Women’s Organizations and the Politics of Transformation (1998), the editor of Global Lockdown: Race, Gender, and the Prison-Industrial Complex (2005), and the coeditor of Color of Violence (2006) and (under the name Oparah) Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption (2006).
Chukwuma Ume is an ex-prison officer with the Nigerian Prison Service and now works as a consultant on penal reform. He has considerable years of experience working with civil society organizations, specifically working in the areas relating to penal reform, human rights, and peace building in Africa, and specifically Nigeria. He currently lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria.
Unyierie Idem holds an award-winning Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Edinburgh University, Scotland; an MA in French from the University of Calabar, Nigeria; and a First Class Honours MA in French from the University of Calabar, Nigeria.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION: COLONIAL SYSTEMS OF CONTROL Viviane Saleh-Hanna A long dirt road begins with the casual barrel of a gun, guarding a boundary, allowing selective access to outsiders and controlled exit to insiders. The few outsiders who are allowed to step past those guns and over the invisible, mysterious line in Kirikiri are faced with tall concrete walls inflicting visible boundaries and guns illustrating more clearly the visual and violent infliction of control. All visible boundaries within the Nigerian Prison ‘Service’ grounds are accentuated by the binding green gates built into the concrete walls, meant to function as points of transition between the two worlds: the world inside Nigerian prisons and the world outside them. The walls I see before me every time I enter a prison, anywhere in the world, are not just walls. They are symbols of degradation and violence; they are statements of disregard and dehumanization; they are perpetrators of myth and fear; and above all they are clear, concrete representations of the inhumanity capable of emerging in the name of euphemized humanities. As I step beyond the gates and enter the world of prisons in Nigeria, I am faced with prison officials in green uniforms trying to maintain order among and control over convicted prisoners in blue uniforms. This is simply a world of green uniforms trying to keep blue uniforms behind the walls. Not as concrete but just as visible is the struggle to control all physical, mental, and spiritual undertakings. Colours mark power, not people: green uniforms taking shifts to monitor, control, and punish blue uniforms; blue uniforms fighting to exist as human beings inside a beast-like institution. While I was in Nigeria, from October 2000 to November 2002, there were 142 prisons holding approximately 55,000 prisoners, sixty-two percent of whom were awaiting trial. While 20,000 prisoners (thirty-eight percent) had been convicted inside a courtroom, approximately 35,000 prisoners were imprisoned without legal representation or the chance to appear in court.1 Those 35,000 people did not always have prison uniforms; 2 they wore the clothes they had been arrested in and, as the years went by, whatever clothes they had been able to get from those around them. I met prisoners who had served up to ten years awaiting trial and, if convicted, were not given “time served” recognition. An ex-prisoner I worked with at the PRAWA3 office, a man I knew as Papa, often spoke about the ten years he had spent awaiting trial for a drug offence and the eight years he had been sentenced to serve. He had spent eighteen years in prison.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ......................................................................xvii
Foreword Julia Sudbury .............................................................................xxi
Chapter 1: Introduction: Colonial Systems of Control Viviane Saleh-Hanna ..................................................................... 1
SECTION I: CONTEXTUALIZING NIGERIA
Chapter 2: Penal Coloniality Viviane Saleh-Hanna ................................................................... 17
Chapter 3: An Evolution of the Penal System: Criminal Justice in Nigeria Viviane Saleh-Hanna and Chukwuma Ume .............................. 55
Chapter 4: The Militarization of Nigerian Society Biko Agozino and Unyierie Idem ................................................ 69
SECTION II: NIGERIAN PRISONS: VOICES FROM INSIDE
Chapter 5: Another Face of Slavery Osadolor Eribo ........................................................................... 121
Chapter 6: My Nigerian Prison Experience Clever Akporherhe ..................................................................... 127
Chapter 7: My Story Chris Affor ................................................................................. 131
Chapter 8: A Tribute to Solidarity: My Oasis Chris Affor ................................................................................. 141
Chapter 9: June 14, 2003 Igho Odibo ................................................................................. 147
Chapter 10: The System I Have Come to Know Sylvester Monday Anagaba ...................................................... 149
Chapter 11: Man’s Inhumanity to Man Sylvester Monday Anagaba ...................................................... 153
Chapter 12: Patriotism: Illusion or Reality? Osadolor Eribo ........................................................................... 157
SECTION III: COLONIAL SYSTEMS OF IMPRISONMENT: GENDER, POVERTY AND MENTAL HEALTH IN PRISON
Chapter 13: Nigerian Penal Interactions Viviane Saleh-Hanna ................................................................. 173
Chapter 14: Women’s Rights behind Walls Mechthild Nagel ........................................................................ 223
Chapter 15: Nigerian Women in Prison: Hostages in Law Biko Agozino ............................................................................. 245
Chapter 16: Protecting the Human Rights of People with Mental Health Disabilities in African Prisons Uju Agomoh .............................................................................. 267
SECTION IV: RESISTANCE
Chapter 17: Women, Law, and Resistance in Northern Nigeria: Understanding the Inadequacies of Western Scholarship Viviane Saleh-Hanna ................................................................. 293
Chapter 18: Fela Kuti’s Wahala Music: Political Resistance through Song Viviane Saleh-Hanna ................................................................. 355
SECTION V: STEPPING BEYOND THE COLONIAL PENAL BOX: AFRICAN JUSTICE MODELS AND PENAL ABOLITIONISM
Chapter 19: Alternatives to Imprisonment: Community Service Orders in Africa Chukwuma Ume ....................................................................... 379
Chapter 20: The Igbo Indigenous Justice System O. Oko Elechi ............................................................................ 395
Chapter 21: Penal Abolitionist Theories and Ideologies Viviane Saleh-Hanna ................................................................. 417
Chapter 22: The Tenth International Conference on Penal Abolition (ICOPA X) Viviane Saleh-Hanna ................................................................. 457
Index ................................................................................................ 489

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