The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) says it did not record any jailbreak in the country in 2019.
The Service Public Relations Officer (SPRO), Mr Chuks Njoku, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
Njoku, who described the prevailing situation in the service as ” cool and calm”, attributed it to relentless efforts by the incumbent administration to prevent jailbreaks.
He, however, noted that the service experienced an incident of flood in its custodial centre in Kogi in October, last year.
“Actually, 2019 was calm and we have no records of jailbreaks across the nation. What we had was an incident which was caused by flood at Kogi state custodial centre.
“That was a natural incident. The place was flooded and pulled down the walls and so the criminals escaped but most of them have been captured.
“We still have about 24 of them at large and the service has taken adequate steps to recover them. We have placed posters all over the surroundings and neighborhood including Kogi state.
“We have also advertised their pictures on billboards and put their names at all the motor parks within that area so that anybody with useful information can contact the nearest police station or any security agency.
“That is the effort we are making to make sure that we get all the inmates that escaped back into the custodial centre, ” he said.
Njoku disclosed that both the Controller General (C-G), NCoS, Mr Ja’afaru Ahmed, and the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, had since taken proactive steps to avert future incidences of flood or jailbreaks.
He explained that the construction of the damaged walls of the Kogi custodial centre where the inmates escaped was ongoing to ensure the inmates were safe and secured.
“You will recall that the Federal Government has commenced the construction of a 3,000-capacity Maximum Security Custodial Centre at Karshi, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
“This is one of the steps, as part of the strategies, to improve the conditions of inmates and the general state of the custodial centres.
“Construction of Maximum Security Custodial Centres in each of the six Geo-Political Zones of the country was conceptualised to help in containing overcrowding.
“And to facilitate access to justice as well as reformation and rehabilitation of inmates within the FCT and its environs.
“This would, in turn, fight the menace of jailbreaks as most of our custodial centres accommodated more than the actual numbers they were built for,” he said.
NAN also reports that the Federal Government started the construction of similar project at Janguza in Kano State in 2018 and work was at completion state.
It would also be recalled that the controller-general of NCoS had disclosed that the construction of another 3,000-capacity maximum security custodial centre in Bori, Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, representing South-South Geo-political zone, would commence soon. (NAN).