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DISTURBING! Soon-To-Wed Nigerian Prison Official Commits Suicide After Passing Exam 3 Times Without Promotion



Alfred Bassa, a Nigerian correctional officer has died by suicide after he was reportedly denied promotion for three successive times despite acing the exams.

Three sources with direct knowledge of the incident including a senior colleague confided that Mr. Bassa, an assistant superintendent, took the promotional examinations three times, but despite securing excellent scores, prison authorities denied him his due promotion.

“He decided to end the nightmare by taking his own life,” Peoples Gazette quoted the officer’s colleagues as saying.

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The 28-year-old officer took a Sniper bottle with him when he resumed duty at the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Keffi, drinking the lethal pesticide in his uniform, sources said.

The colleagues further narrated that Mr. Bassa showed no sign of mental health crises in the days and moments leading up to the unfortunate incident.

Sniper has been banned in Nigeria because of its frequent use for suicide, but the product has remained in circulation. Suicide prevention centres are rare in the country, and the only reachable one in Lagos has cut its response hours due to the pandemic.

The tragedy on October 2 sent the entire facility into panic, and prison authorities in Abuja swiftly moved in to hush it, sources said.

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His demise came as the correctional service was promoting officers to new ranks. The approvals were communicated last week to affected officers, which did not include Mr. Bassa, an official said.

Mr. Bassa was scheduled to get married to his long-time sweetheart on November 19, 2020, when the humiliation of being denied promotion for the third time became too much for him to absorb.

“He has watched as his contemporaries were being selectively promoted, including some who did not even pass promotional examinations,” an official said. He should have been at least promoted to assistant superintendent of prison II bar the injustice, his colleague said.

Alfred Bassa, an assistant superintendent of prisons

Mr. Bassa’s colleagues said they became demoralised after the incident and began mulling over their future at the correctional office.

The correctional authorities have failed to pursue a closure on the tragedy, scrambling instead to hush it up, officials said.

Ja’afaru Ahmed, comptroller-general of corrections did not return a request seeking comments. A spokesperson for the correctional office was unavailable for comments Tuesday evening.

The Gazette further noted that the matter was escalated to interior minister Rauf Aregbesola, who failed to take action.

“He did not show any care about the young man that died when he was informed about it,” an official said. “Neither did he even bother to say he would launch an investigation into the injustice of selective promotion.”

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The Nigerian Correctional Service and its sister interior agencies have long faced allegations of injustice and gross misuse of power with regards to personnel promotion and other career progression policies.

Prisons CG Ja’afaru Ahmed

In 2018, an Abuja residence sued the correctional service after being suspended from work for protesting selective promotion. The Immigration Service has faced similar allegations over the years.

The multiple cases across the agencies strongly suggest a perverse culture of injustice at the services.

“They only promote based on ethnicity, faith and your financial status,” an official said. “It is unspeakable the level of fraud and injustice that comes with promotions in the service.”

Federal authorities have always denied allegations of corruption in promotion, saying they usually come from lazy officers who often seek to rise through the ranks without actually putting in the efforts required.

Mr. Bassa’s family, from Nasarawa State, said they would file charges to enforce his posthumous promotion.

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