The Federal Government has threatened to sanction prison officers found culpable in cases of jailbreaks.
It warned that officers involved in negligence, dereliction of duty and absenteeism would be severely punished.
Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), who gave the warning during a meeting with senior prison service officers at the Nigeria Prisons Service headquarters in Abuja yesterday, admitted that most of the prisons were weak structures of 100 years.
Dambazau, who noted with regrets last Saturday’s jailbreak at Koton-Karfe Prison, Kogi State, in which 13 inmates escaped and the escape of two detainees at Kuje Prison, Abuja, in June, said that there were certain precautions and routines prison officials could take to prevent jailbreaks.
He said: “We don’t want such incidences to repeat again. Those who are comptrollers, take time to go round your prisons. Don’t sit in your office. The prison is very important in the justice system. Take your jobs very seriously. This is something that the administration will not tolerate. You have to be up and doing.
Meanwhile, the Comptroller-General, who disclosed that seven of the escapee prisoners from the Koton-Karfe Prisons have been re-arrested, said: “We are still searching and we are hoping to get all of them back.
“For every escape that occurs, there must be one thing or the other that the prison officers have not done and that comes to negligence of duty. For that case, there was also negligence.
“But in addition, as the minister has said, it is also a structure problem we and people in that prison hope to address.
“I inherited that structural problem and I intend to solve it this year, and to the subsequent budgets so that the entire buildings within the prisons system in Nigeria will change henceforth so that those structural problems will be addressed.”
In another development, the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has called on the Federal Government to relocate the prison in Kaduna, which is located in the heart of the city, away from urban areas in view of security threats.
El-Rufai, who stated this when the minister visited him in his office, pledged his support to the various paramilitary agencies in the state, noting that the state enjoys co-operation from them.