Olanrewaju Kayode was arrested in 2013 for the production of counterfeit alcoholic drinks and selling same to the public.

Without trial he was remanded at the Akure prison in Ondo state.

He spent three years at the prison on the “awaiting trial” list and that was where he met Aremu who seemed to be more experienced in crime.

One would expect that the prisons is a corrective facility but no, it is not. They became friends when he told him he wanted to learn how to produce the drinks he was arrested for.

Their criminal minds did not see any reason why they could not continue with crime even while suffering for one. They exchanged contacts.

Aremu left the prison before Kayode and waited patiently for his new-found hot drink mentor to regain freedom.

His alcohol counterfeiting case finally went into trial and he was released having already served term.

On his release, he went to Ado Ekiti to settle down and rebuild his life and that was where Aremu came to meet him for the relaunch of their fake drink business.

“We were discussing how to get NAFDAC number and the lack of money for the processing when he received a call.

“He told me the solution to the lack of money had come because someone just offered to give him a bus if he could deliver an SUV to him.

“So, instead of looking for NAFDAC money, he could be driving while I do conductor to raise money to pay for NAFDAC registration,” he said.

He agreed and joined his friend to rob a home in Ado Ekiti at midnight where they made away with the SUV.

They headed straight for Lagos but little did they know that the person meant to receive the vehicle was an undercover cop. They were arrested.


He claimed that this was his first crime since returning from prison but the police had a different story about them.

One of the investigating officers told Bounce News, “These are notorious interstate highway robbers from Ekiti.

“They are ex-convicts who met in prison and started operation after release. The vehicle they snatched was recovered.

“Ekiti police tried but could not apprehend them and the IG deployed us to go there. So, we tracked them down after an operation.”

Guilty or not guilty is not the concern but that this is another proof that Nigerian prisons do more of breeding criminals than reforming them.

It is more disheartening to know that some of those criminals had no business being in prison in the first place.

While there is no justification for crime, one must admit that the story of “awaiting trial” told by Olanrewaju Kayode is the sad tale of many Nigerians who, unlike Kayode, are just victims of circumstances.

Some never committed a crime to have warranted being imprisoned but they are languishing in jail and learning crime from hardened criminals.

In June 2017, Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, during a visit to the Kano Prison, revealed that more than 70% of inmates in Nigerian prisons were awaiting trial.

“The high number of awaiting trial inmates is worrisome, because the prisons are meant for convicts, but you find out at the end of the day that more than 70 percent of the people there are awaiting trial inmates,” he said.

Dambazau added that, “some of the inmates were supposed to stay for few years but ended up staying for up to 15 years.‎”

It is October 2017, the question is, what is the government doing about this problem?

Showing up during religious holidays to free few inmates is not enough. The country needs to pay serious attention to reforms in its justice system inside and outside prison.