By Chidi Nkwopara & Chinonso Alozie
OWERRI—The Chief Judge of Imo State, Hon. Justice Paschal Nnadi, has said that the bandits who stormed the Owerri High Court, “obviously understudied the terrain and understood the areas of weakness before perfecting their plan.”
Justice Nnadi made his feelings known in Owerri, when he played host to Imo State Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere; the Controller of Nigeria Prison Service, NPS, Mr. Ahmed Ja’afaru and the Imo State Comptroller of Prison, Dr. Alloy Uchenwa, in the Chief Judge’s Chamber.
“Much as the attack shocked us all, the armed bandits must have understudied the court premises and understood the areas of weakness before perfecting their plan”, Justice Nnadi said.
He called for “adequate security” for prison inmates, judges and visitors to all court premises in the state, stressing that what happened in Owerri should not be allowed to repeat in any other place in the state.
“I must use this opportunity to passionately appeal to the Nigerian Prison Service high command, to improve medical services in the prisons, so as to stabilize the health status of inmates, especially those whose offences are capital in nature”, Justice Nnadi pleaded.
Speaking also, the Deputy Governor, Prince Madumere, called for synergy between security agencies in the state, with a view to forestalling a repeat of the unfortunate incident that played out in Owerri High Court premises. While saying that they were on a critical tour of the premises to personally assess the situation, Madumere also expressed regret that the vicious criminal, Vampire and his eight acolytes were successfully ferried into safety by their colleagues in crime.
He reiterated Governor Rochas Okorocha’s passion for people’s security of life and property, adding that the Governor’s relationship with the security agencies, is to ensure free, secure and safe Imo. Speaking earlier, the prisons boss explained that he was in Imo to have a first hand information of the sad escape of Henry Chibueze alias Vampire.
While describing the incident as “ most unfortunate”, Ja’afaru also promised that “the Nigerian Prison Service has taken the necessary measures to stop any future occurrence.” Meantime, the Imo State Police Command has debunked reports that it raided Owerri Prisons and recovered 264 Mobile Phones. In the said publication, the writers averred that the State Police Command weekend raided the Owerri Prisons and recovered mobile sets from the prison inmates.
A statement signed by DSP Andrew Enwerem, Police Public Relations Officer, Imo State, said no such raid was carried out by the Imo State Police Command at the Owerri Prisons. “The Police Command has been working in tandem with the Owerri Prisons authorities to ensure the re-arrest of the fleeing suspects. It is pertinent to let the general public know that full investigation is being carried out to detect and arrest those who perpetrated the escape of the criminals and to ascertain whether or not there was internal connivance with those in-charge of the fleeing suspects.”
The Police Command said the publication should be disregarded “as false and misleading as the command commends members of the press who painstakingly verify incidents before publication.”