Episode 4: Inside Afokang – That Small Chair In Front Of Me

In Breaking News, Opinion


This is a series about life in Afokang prison Calabar by Agba Jalingo.

Agba Jalingo was remanded in prison custody for 145 by Justice Simon Amobeda.

Prior to arraignment, he was detained in a Police black facility for 34 days. In this episode he reflects on the rule and regulations in Afokang prison which according to him are draconian and must be obeyed.

(Other faces with me in the attached picture have been deliberately blurred.)

It is common in Calabar to hear an offended person who plans to deal with the offender usually threatening..: “I will send you to Afokang.” It is like threatening to send you to hell. Afokang is dreaded in Canaan city.

But in Afokang, we were not dreading. We were balling too. We had football, ludo, draft, scrabble, monopoly, chess and we had some of the best players of these games in the yard. 95 percent of the inmates and staffers also play football betting, which we call “white paper” in sankolina, ferociously.

That small chair you see in front of me in that picture, produced so many champions of our different table games and we jubilated many times around the chair. We also regularly shared a drink on that small chair after a game and we will cheer ourselves and momentarily forget our sorrows. Don’t ask me the drink we shared because I won’t answer you.

That same chair was also were we collect our cell dues. YES, cell dues. You heard me right. We had a cell purse. For what? You just asked!

We had bills to pay. Every Friday, each cell gives the Chief Warder “Take Home”. It is compulsory. We contribute money into the cell purse to pay for our diesel to pump water, to pay warders for early open out or delayed lock up, to empty our sucker wells when our human waste is full, to do plumbing work when our pipes are broken, to pay warders to assist us run some errands which we are not allowed to run by ourselves, to pay the Warder in-charge of court, any day our cell member is due for court, or just to pay some Warders to make them allow us have peace of mind.

That small chair was also a parliamentary table where our laws were written and amended and repealed as the case may be. Law and order in the inside world needs to be imported back to the outside world. Outside world need to copy the brute discipline that is enforced in sankolina.

Be you who…if you say you stubborn, you go see who stubborn pass you for sanko. If you carry come, we carry follow you. Here na Alabama city, a.k.a Kontri No Vex, if you vex, na for ya fada pocket.

We had 41 cell laws with their punishments attached. The laws include some of the most draconian but dem no born you well make you break any….

Let me give you 24 of the laws and leave the rest till next episode.

1. Don’t stand or talk when the cell is locked.

{3 days}

(3 days simply means, 3 days of washing the canteen. We call our toilet and bathroom, CANTEEN or lavatory.)

2. Don’t abuse Warders.

{2 days}

3. Stealing is not allowed in the cell.

{20 strokes}

4. Don’t sleep two people on one bed. (this is targeted at homosexuality.)

{2 days}

5. Every new man is to work for four days.

{20 strokes or N5000}

6. Don’t wash your hands inside our feeding pan.

{3 days}

7. No wandering during NEPA blackout.

{6 strokes}

8. Everybody should participate during our morning and evening devotional service, failing to participate…

{10 days}

9. Fighting is not allowed in the cell.

{12 strokes}

10. Don’t pollute in the cell.

{You’ll drink 1 feeding pan of water.}

11. Don’t go to the well without wearing your clothes.

{7 days or 24 strokes.}

12. Don’t abuse somebody’s parent or warrant in the cell.
(Warrant here refers to the issue that brought you to jail.)

{3 days}

13. Leaving your post to another man’s post is not allowed in the cell.

{3 days}

14. Abortion of fish egg is prohibited in the cell.

{3 days}

15. Don’t cause problems in your sitting post.

{3 days}

16. Don’t cut our broom out.

{3 days}

17. Don’t communicate through the windows.

{3 days}

18. Don’t interfer into somebody’s matter.

{2 days}

19. Don’t go to the door post without permission and no two persons at the door post same time.

{3 days}

20. Don’t enter our canteen (toilet) more than four people at a time.

{3 days}

21. Report any mess in the toilet to the OC Sanitary before using it, failure to do…

{3 days}

22. Don’t insult the cell Policemen or cell officials.

{6 strokes}

23. Don’t oppose the Field Marshal’s order.

{Cell official will step down plus 3 days or 6 strokes while floor members will receive 12 strokes}.

Yours sincerely,
Citizen Agba Jalingo.


Citizen Agba Jalingo is the publisher of CrossRiverWatch and writes from Lagos State.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Agba Jalingo and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.

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