The Comptroller-General of Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS), Ja’afaru Ahmed, yesterday, confirmed that 13 prisoners, comprising 10 pre-trial detainees and three convicts, escaped from Koton Karfe prison in Kogi State, last Saturday.
Six pre-trial detainees were, however, recaptured and returned to the prison. Others, including two robbery convicts are still on the run.
Ahmed spoke during an on-the-spot assessment of the prison.
Investigation showed the jailbreak was reportedly carried out by the inmates, who scaled the fence after breaking through the inner wall of the facility.
A statement by the NPS spokesman, Frances Enobore, said a three-man panel was raised to investigate the circumstances surrounding the break.
It said appropriate measures have been set up to address congestion, particularly among prisoners awaiting trial, in line with the Federal Government’s reform agenda.
The comptroller-general added that security would be tightened to forestall a recurrence.
A security source, who spoke in confidence, said: “It’s as if someone in the prisons did not do his/her job and prisoners took advantage of that to escape.
“The negligence may be ‘intentional’ and I hope the authorities will probe the break to forestall a recurrence. The remanding of some kidnap kingpins, paraded by the DSS, last week, may not be unconnected with the break.”
Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello, at the prison, appealed to the Federal Government to set up a commission of enquiry to investigate the jailbreak.
Bello, who was shocked at the frequent breaks, said the attack seems like a conspiracy.
The governor, who was accompanied by top security officials, was not allowed into the yard to access the damage.
He vowed to unearth the mystery behind the break.
The 180-capacity all-male facility, inaugurated in 2014, has 263 inmates. It was rebuilt and ‘fortified’ after the old structure, built in 1914, was broken into four.
State Comptroller of Prison, Mr. Musa Maza, could not be reached for comments.