The Federal Government is worried over increasing cases of jail-break in prison formations across the country.
The Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazau (retd.), who expressed government’s concern over the incidence of jailbreak however talked tough Tuesday in Abuja, threatening that any prison officer found to have played a role in the past incidents would surely face the music.
Danbazau had held a meeting with all senior prison service officers at the Nigeria Prison Service headquarters in Abuja, on Tuesday.
He used the opportunity to stress the need for prison officers to carry out certain routines daily to ensure the security of the facilities, warning that negligence, dereliction of duty and absenteeism by officers would also be severely punished.
Though he admitted that most of the prisons were old with weak structures, with some of them over 100 years, the minister insisted that there were certain precautions and routines that prison officials could take to prevent or foil jail-breaks.
Danbazau noted with regret the Saturday jail-break at Koton-Karfe prison, Kogi State, in which 13 inmates escaped and the escape of two detainees at Kuje prison, Abuja in June.
He stated that his ministry would propose an inter-ministerial committee with the Ministries of Justice and Women Affairs to work out modalities for decongesting the prisons which were overcrowded with awaiting trial inmates which he put at 70 percent of the prison population.
The minister said, “The prison has the responsibility to rehabilitate those in custody and this is why I believe we must view this with all seriousness in order to know how to tackle the problem of incessant prison escape. Anyone having a responsibility should perform it squarely, otherwise the consequences would be heavy.”
Danbazau alleged that some prison officers were lazy, saying that cases of absenteeism and indiscipline were on the rise in the service.
He admonished zonal comptrollers to visit the prison formations under them so as to put their subordinates on their toes.
Speaking earlier, the Controller-General of Prisons, Jafa’aru Ahmed expressed displeasure over the incessant jailbreaks, adding that the meeting was called to brainstorm on how to curb it.