By Marie-Therese Nanlong
The Controller-General of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa, has blamed lack of adequate funding to the inability of the Service to deploy technology in manning its custodial centres nationwide.
The CG made this known on Tuesday when he visited the Jos medium security Custodial Centre which was attacked on Sunday evening by gunmen.
The CG, represented by the Deputy Controller-General, (Operations), Mohammed Tukur, explained there is no way custodial centres would be adequately manned manually except with the help of technology but, “if we don’t have enough releases from the government, there is no way we will be able to cover all our custodial centres with CCTV.”
Speaking with journalists in Jos shortly after inspecting the custodial centre, he disclosed that armed guard on duty were overpowered before help came and so far, 17 out of the 252 inmates that escaped on Sunday have been recaptured and was optimistic that with the assistance from sister security agencies, the fleeing inmates would be recaptured in no distance time.
His words, “On the faithful day, the attackers came, met armed men outside the gate of the correctional facility and before they knew what was happening, the attackers had gunned down one of them and the remaining officers had to engage them.
“However, because of the number of the assailants that came, they were able to penetrate into the main yard of the custodial centre and some of our inmates escaped. Some through the fence, some through the door here. From the door here, if not for the repairs, you would have seen the bullet holes here. That is how they got in.
“Because of the vibrancy of our men, they were able to stop everybody from going out. If you look at this, you will see that we have Police headquarters, Police barracks, in front of the custodial centre and the DSS is behind us, all these people including the military and the NSCDC were all here to help in seeing that all of these people did not go out.
“To them, we are grateful. That is the essence of synergy. Some of the inmates died through bullet wounds, we also lost a staff, an armed guard. One of the staff was wounded and six of the inmates are right now in the hospital receiving treatments from bullet wounds and scratches.”
He commended the efforts of the guard saying, “If you look at the number of the inmates that went out and the number of staff we had on duty before the help from other sister security agencies came, you cannot imagine the few armed guard we had to combat all of them and those that died including one assailant were the ones our people were able to get before help came.
“Search is ongoing, sister security agencies are helping us to get them back, already, 17 as of today have been recaptured and we have the hope that with the things we have on ground, we will be able to capture a good number of them.”
On the identity of the attackers and how to use technology to track them, he said, “We cannot ascertain the identity of the assailants now because investigation is ongoing, until the we get the report of the investigators, we cannot be able to tell who these people are, from where they came and how many they were.
“Technology could be used to monitor our facilities, we have CCTV in some of our centres but however, CCTV can be provided according to releases from the government, if we don’t have enough releases from the government, there is no way we will be able to cover all our custodial centres with CCTV.
“Even here, the CCTV will be installed as soon as we get money but it is not automatic that every custodial centre will get CCTV at the same time.”