By Vincent Ujumadu
Awka- AS the controversy rages over the alleged relocation of some Boko Haram detainees from prisons in the northern part of the country to Anambra State, the member representing Aguata federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Mrs. Eucharia Azodo yesterday urged the federal government to rescind the decision in view of its security implications on the people of her constituency.
In a statement in Awka, Azodo said the Boko Haram detainees would better be taken care of in a maximum security prison, arguing that Ekwulobia Prison did not have the capacity to accommodate such high risk prisoners.
The statement read: “It gives me great concern about the rising tension following rumours that inmates of Boko Haram suspects were reportedly relocated from some Northern prisons to the South East, precisely, Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government of Anambra State.
“We all are aware of the fact that Ekwulobia Prison in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State is not a maximum security prison.
“Whereas a large number of prisoners, about 134 inmates, are there already in a prison built to accommodate 85 inmates, a total number of 47 Boko Haram prisoners were brought to Ekwulobia Prison in the dead of the night of Sunday, June 28, 2015 amidst tight security. “In spite of torrent protests recorded in the commercial city of Onitsha, Ekwulobia and other major cities of Anambra State last weekend over the rumours of government intention, the Federal Government still went ahead to relocate them to Ekwulobia in flagrant violation of the avowed wishes of the peace- loving people of Anambra State.
“As a result, tension has been raised in the state, arising from hundreds of youths storming the streets and market places. Filling stations in the state were also shut down in protest.
“It is paramount to state that one of the resultant negative effects of relocating Boko Haram suspects from the Northern part of the country to the South East would be the terror associated with Boko Haram sect as this will definitely cause a setback for the state economically since some investors would not want to come to invest as a result of fear.
“The Ekwulobia medium security prison would definitely be overcrowded, having been built to accommodate 85 people. Already, 134 inmates were there before they brought 47 Boko Haram detainees and the congestion will lead to inmates’ ill health, misconduct and may lead to threat of jail break.
“For normalcy to be restored and anxiety removed, the decision of relocating Boko Haram suspects to the South East should be revisited.
“We, the people of Aguata federal constituency, therefore, vehemently condemn in its totality this impunity. We therefore urge the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, move those detainees to another prison that has maximum security and space.”