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An investigation by SaharaReporters has revealed how corrupt and criminal activities have been going on for a long time at the Maximum Security Custodial Centre in Enugu State.
Led by the officer in charge of the centre, Deputy Controller of Corrections, Madumere Felix Chinedu, junior and senior prison officials have together been running a notorious cartel that smuggles several banned items, especially hard drugs into the facility for inmates.
SaharaReporters discovered that three trucks filled with Cannabis, alcohol, mobile phones and other prohibited substances were on March 14, 2022, smuggled into the facility for use by inmates under the watchful eyes of Chinedu.
In return, the officer in charge and others in the cartel raked in a decent amount of money and many other benefits following the success of the ‘operation’.
Though such activities had been going on for some time at the Enugu Custodial Centre, SaharaReporters learnt it had become full blown and gone out of control since September 2021 when Chinedu was posted to the place as head of the facility.
It was learnt that he has been presiding over and coordinating all smuggling of banned items into the centre for inmates against civil service rules.
“Smuggling of banned items is now a norm in Enugu Custodial Centre. The smuggling of items such as Cannabis Sativa, alcohol and other intoxicating substances into prison for inmates is mostly carried out by the rank and file who are acting under the instruction and directives of superior officers in the custodial centre.
“The frequency of this act became more prevalent since the new officer in charge was posted to the custodial centre in September 2021.
“The new officer in charge of the Enugu Custodial Centre during his early period of administration behaved like a saint initially towards the negative activities going on within the prison.
“After few months of being in charge of the facility, he conspired with the inmates and other superior officers to smuggle in banned items into the centre in three trucks for sale to them.
“He has gone as far as bribing superior officers in charge of the custodial centre’s intelligence, even up to the national headquarters,” a source within the facility, who confirmed SaharaReporters’ findings, said.
Further findings by our correspondent revealed how DCC Chinedu has been wielding power at the Enugu Custodial Centre, implicating and pushing to the firing line prison officials, who try to outsmart him in smuggling banned items into the facility for inmates.
A case in point is that of a junior officer, Assistant Inspector of Corrections, Ifeoma Osmond, who was on March 18, 2022, implicated by DCC Chinedu for dealing in hard drugs and subsequently arrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
SaharaReporters reliably gathered that Osmond is one of Chinedu’s most trusted lieutenants in the illicit business of smuggling in Enugu Prison but the officer in charge felt threatened by his rising profile, hence the plot to frame and get him out of the way through the arrest.
“The recent act of smuggling that occurred at Enugu Prison where an official who is working for the officer in charge to bring in trucks of contrabands into the place was framed by the same person for trying to smuggle in the remaining Cannabis Sativa they brought in a few days before that period.
“He was set up, arrested and transferred to the NDLEA without being tried departmentally, which is the right thing to have done as a regimental agency.
“The officer in charge of Enugu Custodial Centre and his lieutenants are the ones who should be under NDLEA investigation, not AIC Ifeoma Osmond, who they framed and used as a sacrificial lamb for the evil they are committing at the place,” another source at the correctional centre said.
It was further discovered that a large volume of hard drugs and other intoxicating substances were stashed at the correctional facility by members of the cartel led by DCC Chinedu for sale to inmates.
SaharaReporters learnt that at least 2,000 mobiles phones are in the hands of prison inmates, which is illegal.
An investigation by SaharaReporters into the profile of DCC Chinedu revealed how the officer in charge of Enugu Custodial Centre had a history of breaking the law at every command of the service he previously worked.
For instance, it was discovered that he was notorious for smuggling in banned items for inmates when he served at the correctional centre in Warri, Delta State.
Apart from selling hard drugs to inmates, he was also found to be running other shady dealings with them, forcing the authorities to transfer him to a correctional centre in Edo State where he continued with his illicit business.
He was in September 2021 moved to Enugu to head the correctional centre after allegedly leveraging his networks within the criminal cartel of the Nigerian Correctional Service to make that happen.
At his present station, DCC Chinedu is known for servicing the interest of inmates in return for huge financial compensation.
When confronted by SaharaReporters with the discoveries, spokesperson for the Nigerian Correctional Service, Francis Enabore, denied the involvement of DCC Chinedu in drug smuggling at Enugu Custodial Centre.
He instead accused AIC Ifeoma and others of smuggling illicit substances into the prison facility for inmates.
“It’s completely untrue that the DCC was working with the man.
“With the information at our disposal, he didn’t implicate the officer in question.
“It was the discipline in the agency that led to the arrest of AIC Ifeoma. He wasn’t arrested by NDLEA, he was arrested by our officer and handed over to NDLEA,” Enabore said.
Despite the NCS spokesperson’s defence, checks by SaharaReporters from senior officers of the agency and even a handful of inmates indicated that DCC Chinedu is indeed the brains behind the cartel smuggling hard drugs and other banned substances for use by inmates at the Maximum Security Custodial Centre in Enugu.