Minister blames prison official for Kogi jail break

Channels Television  
Updated February 21, 2012

The Minister of Interior, Abba Moro on Tuesday said that Controllers of Prison will henceforth be held responsible for jail breaks in their command.

Mr Moro said this at an interactive meeting with the high command of the Nigeria Prison Service at the conference room of the Ministry of Interior.
He urged Prison officers to “rise up to the challenge of the current internal security situation in the country which demands very drastic action.”

The Minister’s warning is coming against the backdrop of the recent jail break in Koton Karfe, Kogi State which led to the escape of 119 inmates. 43 of the runaway inmates have been re-arrested. The Minister insisted that the Kogi prison break was the handiwork of hoodlums and not the terrorist organization, Boko Haram, as widely speculated.

Mr Moro said that the prison officers were not doing enough to safeguard the prisons. “The reality is that you are not doing enough. If armed hoodlums can invade your facility and free inmates then you are not justifying why you are bearing arms,” he argued.

The Minister pointed out that the ease with which inmates in Bauchi, Port-Harcourt and Koton Karfe were set free by hoodlums poses serious challenge to the service. “We owe our country the responsibility to rise up to the challenge”, he said.

Mr Moro advised the State Controller of prisons to network with other security agencies, especially the police to beef up security in all the prison formations in the country. He said his visits to some Prison formations revealed that negligence and administrative ineptitude are responsible for some of the problems facing the service and warned that “the consequences will be too grave if we fail.”


The minister constituted a five-man Investigation Panel headed by John Odah, to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Koton Karfe jail break.

The other members of the panel include Joseph Ikyaagba, Salihu Ali Bala, Ifedior Orakwe
and Umar Husseini who will act as the panel’s Secretary

The term of reference of the panel according to a press release signed by the Special Assistant, Liaison, to the Minister, Sunday Orinya, included to establish the extent of damage occasioned by the attack and to make appropriate recommendations to government to forestall future attacks and jail breaks.

The panel was giving three weeks to submit its report.