International Centre for Prison Studies

A partner of the University of Essex


Ministry responsible
Ministry of Internal Affairs
Prison administration
Nigerian Prisons Service
Contact address
National Prisons Headquarters, PMB16, Old Federal Secretariat Block 6, Area 1, Garki, Abuja, Nigeria
+234 9 234 1709
+234 9 234 4634
Head of prison administration (and title)
Zakari Ohinoyi Ibrahim
Controller General of Prisons
Prison population total (including pre-trial detainees / remand prisoners)
55 719
at 28.2.2014 (national prison administration)
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
based on an estimated national population of 172.85 million at end of February 2014 (from United Nations figures)
Pre-trial detainees / remand prisoners (percentage of prison population)
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population)
Juveniles / minors / young prisoners incl. definition (percentage of prison population)
(31.3.2012 - juveniles)
Number of establishments / institutions
Official capacity of prison system
49 505
Occupancy level (based on official capacity)
Recent prison population trend
(year, prison population total, prison population rate)
1992 47,508 46
1996 52,000 46
1999 44,797 37
2002 40,048 31
2005 39,006 28
2008 40,240 27
2011 50,692 31

Pre-trial detainees/remand prisoners

The table below gives an indication of the recent trend in the pre-trial/remand prison population. The final row shows the latest figures available.

It consists of the number of pre-trial/remand prisoners in the prison population on a single date in the year (or the annual average) and the percentage of the total prison population that pre-trial/remand prisoners constituted on that day.  

The final column shows the pre-trial/remand population rate per 100,000 of the national population. 



Number in

of total
prison population

population rate
(per 100,000 of
national population)

















It should be noted that the number of pre-trial/remand prisoners fluctuates from day to day, month to month and year to year. Consequently the above figures give an indication of the trend but the picture is inevitably incomplete.

The pre-trial/remand population rate is calculated on the basis of the national population total. All national population figures are inevitably estimates but the estimates used in the World Prison Brief are based on official national figures, United Nations figures or figures from other recognised international authorities. 


The information/assessments that follow are not those of ICPS. The source is indicated below each entry. Please use the link provided to access the original document. 

Prison conditions
Use of pretrial detention

Prison conditions

Prison and detention center conditions remained harsh and life threatening. Prisoners, a majority of whom had not been tried, were subject to gross overcrowding, food shortages, inadequate medical treatment, and infrastructure deficiencies that led to wholly inadequate sanitary conditions. Reports indicated guards and prison officials threatened inmates with extortion or levied fees on them to pay for the maintenance of the prison and subjected them to physical abuse; in some cases female inmates faced the threat of rape. Female prisoners pregnant at the time of incarceration gave birth to and raised their babies in prison.

Most of the country’s prisons, built 70 to 80 years earlier, lacked basic facilities. Lack of potable water, inadequate sewage facilities, and severe overcrowding resulted in dangerous and unsanitary conditions. Disease remained pervasive in cramped, poorly ventilated prison facilities, which had chronic shortages of medical supplies. Inadequate medical treatment caused many prisoners to die from treatable illnesses. Prison illnesses included HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Inmates with these illnesses lived with the general prison population. Although authorities attempted to isolate persons with communicable diseases, facilities often lacked the space to do so. Prison authorities claimed the death rate in prisons was 89 out of 1,500 prisoners per year; no reliable independent statistics existed on the number of prison deaths.

Read more

US State Department Human Rights Country Report 2012

Use of pretrial detention

Lengthy pretrial detention remained a serious problem, with some people awaiting trial more than 10 years. The shortage of trial judges, serious trial backlogs, endemic corruption, and undue political influence continued to hamper the judicial system. Multiple adjournments in some cases resulted in serious delays. Many detainees did not have trials because police had insufficient vehicles to transport them to court on their trial dates.

The NHRC reported some detainees were held because authorities had lost their case files. Some state governments released inmates who were already detained for longer than the potential maximum sentences they would have received if found guilty. Although detainees have the right to submit complaints to the NHRC, the commission had yet to act directly on any specific complaint. In December the NHRC established a committee to examine arbitrary and ad hoc detention. Detainees could try to complain to the courts but often found this approach impossible since even detainees with legal representation often waited years to gain access to the courts.

From US State Department Human Rights Country Report 2013