…as lawmakers ask Correctional Service recapture escapees, improve security around prisons
By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
House of Representative at Thursday plenary mandated its committee on Reformatory and Correctional Institutions to investigate the incidences of prisons breaks across the country.
The House also urged the Controller of General of Corrections to immediately reinforce the armed Squad of the Service as part of measures to prevent reoccurrence.
The parliament also called for effective collaboration between the Federal and State Governments to tackle threats to the facilities and particularly beef up security around the correctional centres nationwide.
While also asking the Service and other security agencies to intensify efforts to recapture escapees in view of the danger it portends, the House also sought the amendment of the extant rules to enable members of the Controller General of Corrections into the National Security Council.
The resolutions were reached following the consideration of a motion under matters of urgent public importance, titled, ”Need to Investigate Jailbreaks Across the Country with a view to Forestalling reoccurrence,” sponsored by Hon. Chudy Momah from Anambra State.
Presenting the motion, Momah said that the attacks on correctional facilities have become a threat to internal security.
He said: “The spate of attacks on Correctional facilities across the country in recent times which has become a source of internal security threat to the country.
“The last couple of years, cases of jailbreaks have been recorded across the Nation instigated by both internal and external forces.
“Correctional centres in Borno, Enugu, Oko, Konto-karfe, Oyo, Kano, Edo, Ondo and Owerri amongst others have been attacked and a huge number of inmates released into the Society
“Recent jailbreaks particularly the Owerri case where 1,844 inmates were released and operational tools completely destroyed have heightened insecurity in the country.
“The forewarning of the jailbreak was, allegedly, not acted upon by concerned security agencies to prevent the attack despite proximity to the Correctional centre”.
The lawmaker warned that if no action was taken to curb the attack, it may worsen the debilitating security situation.
“This pattern of Jailbreak, the audacity and sophistication with which it was carried out portends great danger for the country.
“The armed squad of the Nigerian Correctional Service in its present form and character is not adequately equipped to deal with these challenges hence the need to strengthen the security architecture of the Service
“Occurrence of jailbreaks are the most consequential effect of poor prison management and government neglect-a situation that best describes the Nigerian Correctional Facilities, an indication of failing prison system.
“The correctional Act, 2019 which repealed the Prison Act, 2004 provided for the rehabilitation and reformation of inmates and eventual reintegration into the Society as well as for measures to eliminate overcrowded correctional facilities, which in itself instigates violence and enables jailbreaks
“The Controller General of Corrections is not a member of the Nigeria Security Council given the need for effective intelligence sharing and collaboration among security agencies.
“The general insecurity in the country and increasing concern for the safety of lives and properties aggravated by recent jailbreaks across the country
“Continuous violation of our Correctional facilities, if not checked, could lead to further deterioration of current insecurity in the country”, Momah said.
Adopting the motion after a positive voice vote, the House gave the committee 60 days within which to conclude the assignment and report back to the House for further legislative duties.