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How Obasanjo and I coped in prison, by Shehu Sani

Human rights activist and Senator representing Kaduna Central District, Senator Shehu Sani has recounted how himself and former President Olusegun Obasanjo fared in prison after they were jailed over the alleged coup plot in 1995 during the military rule of late General Sani Abacha.

Sani, now a Senator narrated his experience when he bagged his 15-year jail term. Obasanjo at that time was sentenced to life imprisonment which was later reduced to 15 years following pleas from leaders across the world.

Giving account of his prison experience alongside Obasanjo, during a programme organised by Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria, he said: “When we got to the prison, having alleged us for treason by the military, they opened the gate, Obasanjo and I were given our place and blanket, later, the prison governor came to allocate bedspace for us.

“We were told how to be in the queue, how we should use toilet, why we must not make noise”, he narrated. According to him, while speaking on the ongoing trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu for alleged forgery, he said: “It is also an experience, he (Saraki) will also learn when he gets there.

He challenged those who have interest in human rights to be visiting prisons at least once in a while, to perceive the kind of life they are living over there.

“You don’t have to know prison when you commit an offence. If you have time for human rights, have time to visit prisons and witness the kind of life the inmates are living.

“Nobody knows tomorrow, if you are not there by what you have done, you may be there by what somebody else alleged might have done”, he stressed.

According to him, he had taught the Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu on how to be a leader in prison rather than being scared of going to jail.

Besides, Sani berated those who have been saying that Senators accompanying Saraki to court have shares in corruption cases, saying: “they said whoever follows Saraki and other accused persons to court is involved in corrupt practices. That is their view.

“Well, I went there, not as a prosecution witness nor as a witness for the Government. In fact, someone needs to be visiting prisons once in while and see how they live there”, he stressed.

He reiterated that democracy preaches about rule of Law, while he pointed out that fundamental human rights of any Nigerian.

“Fundamental human rights provide the best means of fighting against corruption.

“When President Muhammadu Buhari took over power, there were three key issues which include: a deadly violent insurgency, it is not only bombing killing but they had multiplied their version.

“Therefore, it has reached a point where Nigeria has had an army that fought insurgency in Congo, Liberia among others.

“Nevertheless, fundamental human rights should be respected by any law enforcement agents when dealing with corruption cases”, he added.

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