“Orji’s health is getting worse. He has gone completely mad, vomiting and even defecating without restraint and is naked most of the time.”
-The Deputy Comptroller of the prison, Noel Ailewon.
After several years that the name of this flesh-eating cannibal suddenly disappeared from news headlines, he is back in the “Spot light” again not as the feared cannibal of more than a decade ago, but as a man dying gradually everyday as the health of the suspected cannibal and long-time inmate at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Clifford Orji, has deteriorated sources reveal.
The Deputy Comptroller of the prison, Noel Ailewon, said Orji was in a bad state and had gone completely mad.
“Orji’s health is getting worse. He has gone completely mad, vomiting and even defecating without restraint and is naked most of the time,” he said.
Ailewon said this on Thursday during a visit to the prison by the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye, and representatives of the Office of the Public Defender.
The visit was to evaluate the number of Awaiting Trial Persons and secure the release of persons wrongfully put in the prison.
The Director of OPD, Omotola Rotimi, noted that following a court order, Orji was taken to two Psychiatric hospitals for treatment but was rejected.
“Initially, we took Orji to Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, but was rejected because they claimed they did not have long-term medical facilities. Subsequently, he was taken to another hospital in Ewekoro but was similarly rejected,” she said. Ipaye explained that Orji’s case was pathetic because his case had been stalled due to the impediments and said unless Orji received proper medical attention, he could not stand trial.
“Orji is mentally disturbed and no hospital is accepting him. Unfortunately, one cannot be tried if one is mentally unstable. So, he’s stuck in the middle. All we can do now is find help for him,” he said.
Orji, now 46, was arrested in February 1999 by the police, under the bridge along the Apapa-Oshodi expressway. He was subsequently charged before an Ebute Meta Magistrate’s Court, on February 19 but has yet to be tried.
Asides Orji, the prisons authorities noted that the number of awaiting trial persons was far higher than convicted persons.
In the Maximum prison, it was learnt that 554 persons were awaiting trial, while convicted persons stood at 257.
Ipaye assured the prison authorities that the state government was already considering the use of non-custodial sentencing such as community service as a form of punishment for minor offences in order to decongest the prisons.
He said, “The OPD is a department under the state Ministry of Justice, created to offer free legal service to members of society who can’t afford a lawyer. By today’s exercise, we’re exploring all avenues to ensure decongestion of prisons. Prisons are necessary in every society but not all offences are worth jail term.
“We are already setting up the structure for community service. We have identified some community service centres such as hospitals, orphanages, destitute homes which offenders would be made to clean.”