The Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) has said that putting handcuffs on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spokesperson, Chief Olisa Metuh while appearing for his trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday was at the discretion of the prison officer, who supervised his court appearance.
The NPS spokesman, Francis Enobore, said the officer in charge of the escort that took Metuh to court was at liberty to determine if the inmate should be handcuffed based on security situation, the environment and intelligence report made available to him.
Enobore made the clarification following comments in the media and by PDP, that putting handcuffs on Metuh was a plot by the All Progressives congress -led to subdue the major opposition party.
Enobore further stated that Metuh was not maltreated in any way, stressing that handcuffing an inmate was a standard procedure, which the prison warden could employ based on the situation at hand.
Handcuffing an inmate is at the discretion of the officer in-charge, depending on the security situation, the environment and intelligence report available to the officer. Sometimes they look at the atmosphere and take the necessary decision.
If you suspect that the atmosphere, security-wise, may not be conducive to the inmates in your custody, you can use handcuffs; to avoid a situation where you have to start telling stories, you use your discretion to study the environment and take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of the inmates in your custody.
Remember that we not only try to secure the inmate from escaping, we equally provide protection for the inmate. The officer in-charge must ensure that the life of the inmate is not jeopardised. It is the officer in-charge of the escort that studies the security environment and takes the decision to use handcuffs.
Asked if there was intelligence that Metuh might escape or was in danger of being harmed, Enobore said he did not know because he was not at the scene.
He dismissed suggestions that the PDP spokesman was handcuffed to please the Presidency, saying there was no political consideration in the treatment of inmates by the prisons service.
The judge ordered on Tuesday that Metuh should not be released from custody until he met the bail conditions.