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Enugu prison yet to confirm number of escapees

By Lawrence Njoku (Enugu) and Anthony Otaru (Abuja)
12 August 2016   |   3:03 am
Three days after some prisoners escaped from prison at Nsukka in Enugu State, authorities of the facility said they had not been able to ascertain the number of inmates involved in the jailbreak.
Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

• Ugwuanyi reassures residents on security

Three days after some prisoners escaped from prison at Nsukka in Enugu State, authorities of the facility said they had not been able to ascertain the number of inmates involved in the jailbreak.

The Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) meanwhile said it was trailing the fleeing inmates to their villages and had enlisted the services of local vigilantes to re-arrest them.The facility built several years ago with a capacity for 168 persons had about 264 inmates when the jailbreak occurred on Tuesday night.

The State Comptroller of Prisons, Mr. Isaiah Amariri was reportedly summoned to Abuja yesterday over the incident.A source said the service was worried about the development, which occurred less than one month after inmates at Enugu prisons protested against the condition of feeding.

When The Guardian visited the headquarters of the service in Enugu yesterday it was learnt that the Zonal Commander of NPS Zone G, Benin had visited the facility.It was revealed that the majority of those involved in the jailbreak are awaiting trial inmates.

Amariri, who briefed journalists on Wednesday night at Nsukka after an assessment tour, attributed his inability to disclose the number of escapees to the security implication of this to the society.“Investigations are ongoing to confirm the exact figure, though we cannot for now ascertain the number of prisoners that escaped. But we are making efforts to do that, which is what I have been asked to do.

“We have rearrested six escapees with the support of other security personnel. Many others have been traced to their villages. We are already liaising with the local vigilantes in those areas to re-arrest the fleeing prisoners,” he said.

The state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has however reassured the people of the state that the recent jailbreak in Nsukka will not undermine the efforts of his administration to provide adequate security of lives and property.Ugwuanyi spoke during a visit to Nsukka prison.

The governor who was accompanied by the Transition Chairman of Nsukka Local Council, Prof. Rose Onah, and other top government functionaries, described the incident as unfortunate, adding that the frequency of jailbreaks across the country is highly condemnable.

Meanwhile, as part of measures to make the country’s prisons safe, the Director-General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Aminu Dikko, said that the relocation of Kogi and Abuja prisons from the city centre to the hinterlands through Public Private Partnership (PPP) would put a stop to frequent jailbreaks across the country.

Dikko stated this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazau (Rtd) in Abuja yesterday.Responding, the minister of interior disclosed that his ministry was currently reviewing the management of all prisons in the country and the PPP procurement option is one of the issues under consideration.