Its not news that our prisons have experienced break outs lately, and many feel this has a lot to do with a lack of routine monitoring, neglect of duties by some officers and the lack of well structured buildings to make sure that inmates are adequately housed.
What has become very worrisome, however, is that in two months, we have had two prison breaks. First in Kuje and most recently in Koton Karfe in Kogi state.
This was the third jailbreak recorded in Koton Karfe as the old prison facility witnessed similar jailbreaks in 2010 and 2013.
In previous jailbreaks 132 inmates escaped from the prison and majority were awaiting trials.
Another problem was overcrowding. The all male prison facility in koton karfe has the capacity to accommodate 180 inmates.
However it was accommodating 263 inmates as at the time of the jailbreak,
But there was a gathering that brought together senior prison officials in charge of the 241 prisons across the country and top government officials as part of measures to stop this.
The Minister of Interior, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Dambazau (Rtd), says the Federal Government will commence total restructuring of Nigeria’s prisons.
General Dambazau noted that the present situation of prisons across the country calls for structural changes as some of them have not been remodelled in the last 100 years.
He informed the officials that another area the government would focus on is the provision of close circuit cameras for adequate security, as recommended by the House of Representatives.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Interior, Representative Adams Jagaba,demanded cameras after members of the committee were taken round the Kuje Prison last month.
The lawmaker said there was also an urgent need to recruit more personnel into the Nigeria Prison Service (NPS) in order to enhance security.
While highlighting some lapses observed during the inspection, he also spoke on the issue of awaiting trial inmates.
Mr Jagaba said that the National Assembly has made appropriate budgetary provision for more vehicles and arms for the service.
He also called for a proper investigation that would recommend proper sanctions for any negligence discovered.
As if in response to this, yesterday, The Interior Minister further warned that the government would not fail to take punish officers who become complacent in the discharge of their duties.
The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS), Jafaru Ahmed, on his part gave an update on the recent Koton Karfe prison break.
The ease and frequency of prison breaks should be of great concern to all Nigerians especially when you consider that we are barely beginning to heal from the book haram war.
Certainly there are members of this terrorist sect that are being held in our fragile prisons.
So it’s a good thing that President, Muhammadu Buhari, has given approval for a committee for the profiling of special detainees in prisons and other detention facilities in different parts of the country.
The Minister of Interior, Lt Gen Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), disclosed this in Abuja.
According to Gen. Dambazau, this is an initiative of the Ministry of Interior aimed at fast-tracking the profiling of detainees linked to the Boko Haram insurgency.
The Minister stated that the initiative is meant to continue the collective effort to ensure smooth disposal of all detainees, particularly those of the Boko Haram crisis.
The Minister also noted that the Committee would conduct detailed profiling of all persons under custody, categorizing the suspects according to levels of involvement, as well as recommend action to be taken against them.
The Committee is to be inaugurated in the near future.