227 Inmates Escape, Over 100 Rearrested As Flood Sacks Kogi Correctional Home

PHOTO: The flooded correctional home in Kogi. INSET: Some of the rearrested inmates.
PHOTO: The flooded correctional home in Koton-Karfe, Kogi. INSET: Some of the rearrested inmates.

 

A total number of 227 prisoners escaped on Monday while over 100 were rearrested after an early morning downpour in Koton-Karfe, Kogi Local Government Area of Kogi.

The heavy downpour resulted in the flood which caused some parts of the correctional centre including the fence to cave in, thereby giving room for escape.

READ ALSO: Flood Ravages Community, Renders Residents Homeless In Taraba

The Controller General of Prison Jafaru Ahmed who was at the Koto-Karfe correctional center to assess the level of damage on the facility told Channels Television that some of the inmates returned to the centre on their own volition while others were recaptured by security agents.

“As at 3:00 am the flood started and as at 5:00 am the prisoners were able to escape. Some of those who escaped, as I speak to you, are returning.

“Others have been captured following efforts by security agencies including the Police, the Army, and the Navy who have assisted to secure the place.

“Search parties have gone into the bush to recapture others.”

Ahmed, however, described the situation as a natural disaster and added that efforts are on to track the remaining 98 inmates. He disclosed that the inmates will be moved to another correctional home.

Special Adviser the Kogi State Governor on Security, Jerry Omodara, who was also at the scene of the disaster told Channels Television that over 100 of the escaped inmates have been rearrested.

He appealed to Kogi residents with useful information that will lead to the arrest of the other inmates on the run to contact the nearest police station.

This is not the first time inmates will escape from the Koto-Karfe prison as a similar incident was recorded in 2016 when about 13 inmates broke their cells and escaped through the fence.

FG Sacks 23 Prison Officers Over Jailbreaks

Nigeria Prisons Service, Prison, JailbreaksTwenty-three officers of the Nigeria Prisons Service have been relieved of their jobs for their alleged role in the jailbreaks that occurred recently at Kuje Medium Security Prison in the Federal Capital Territory and Koton-Karfe Prison in Kogi State.

This decision was approved at an emergency meeting of the Civil Defence, Fire, Immigration and Prisons Services Board in Abuja on August 11.

A statement from the Nigeria Prisons Service indicates that 17 junior staff of the Kuje and Konton-Karfe prisons have also been sacked in connection with the jailbreaks.

In addition, the officer in charge of the Nsukka Prison in Enugu State, Mr Lawrence Okonkwo and 10 other staff of the facility have been suspended, to allow for an investigation of the escape of 15 inmates from the prison last week, though six of them were said to have been re-arrested.

The sack comes on the heels of the three jailbreaks that occurred between June and August in Kuje, Koton-Karfe and Nsukka prison facilities, all in Nigeria.

Two inmates escaped from the Kuje prison while 13 others fled the Koton-Karfe prison.

The Nsukka jailbreak was the recent where 15 prisoners escaped, just as six escapees were rearrested.

Enugu Governor Orders Immediate Fortification Of Nsukka Prison

Ifeanyi-UguwanyiEnugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has ordered the immediate fortification of the five cells at the Minimum Prison, Nsukka.

The directive follows the jail break incident in the prison in which 15 inmates in the Awaiting Trial Men Cell escaped as six of them have been recaptured.

Governor Ugwuanyi was on inspection tour of the prison to ascertain what caused the incident.

He was received by the Deputy Comptroller of Prisons in-charge of Enugu State, Mr Lawrence Felix.

Addressing the prison officials, he ordered the immediate release of 1.5 million Naira for the outright fortification of the five cells in the prison to avert such  incident from reoccurring.

The Governor also directed the Police Area Commander, Mr Monday Kuryas, to step up security around the area.

He urged the prisoners to be obedient and law abiding while he asked the people of Enugu State to remain calm, saying that their safety was his priority.

The prison official on his part bemoaned the structural problem of the prison, saying that the cells were mere relics of the colonial masters without proper burglary proofs and iron security doors.

Enugu Prison
Front view of the prison described as ‘mere relics of the colonial masters’

He said that investigations were ongoing, stressing that suspicions were high that the jailbreak might have been successfully carried out by the inmates in collaboration with a former inmate who was conversant with the terrain and have aided the escapees.

The Minimum Prison, Nsukka was built in 1934 with initial capacity of 186 inmates but presently has 254 prisoners with 95% on awaiting trial.

The Enugu State Comptroller of Prisons, Mr Isaiah Amariri, had confirmed that six inmates were re-arrest, but declined to give the exact number of inmates that escaped from the prison.

The Enugu incidence is coming about two weeks after 13 inmates escaped from the Koton Karfe Medium Security Prison in Kogi State.

FG Will Restructure Nigerian Prisons – Dambazau

Abdulrahman Dambazau PrisonsThe Minister of Interior, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Dambazau (Rtd), says the Federal Government will commence total restructuring of Nigeria’s prisons.

He announced the plan on Tuesday at a meeting organised for senior officers of the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

The Minister said that the reform is coming as part of measures to forestall cases of prison breaks in the near future.

General Dambazau noted that the present situation of prisons across the country calls for structural changes as some of them have not been remodelled in the last 100 years.

He informed the officials that another area the government would focus on is the provision of close circuit cameras for adequate security, as recommended by the House of Representatives.

The Interior Minister further warned that the government would not fail to take punitive measures against officers who become complacent in the discharge of their duties.

The meeting became important after the jail breaks in Kuje Prison, Abuja and another at the Koton Karfe Prison in Kogi State happening within two months.

The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS), Jafaru Ahmed, on his part gave an update on the recent Koton Karfe prison break.

He called on all senior officers in the Prisons Service to buckle up as he equally vowed that the law would catch up with any official found wanting.

Mr Ahmed also urged Nigerians to provide information that would be helpful to officials of the NIS in the discharge of their duties.

13 Inmates Escape In Kogi Prison Break

Prison Break, Kogi PrisonA prison break has occurred at the Koton Karfe Medium Security Prison in Kogi State.

The incident occured at about 7.10am on Saturday.

About 13 inmates are said to have broken their cells and escaped through the fence. Three of the 13 are convicts.

The inmates at the new prison site broke the wall of the parameter fence and escaped into the bush.

Governor Yahaya Bello in the company of the Commissioner of Police and some political office holders were at the Koton-Karfe prison to see things for himself, but was denied access to the prison yard as there was no prison official to take him round.

The officer in charge of the prison, Kosso Lawal, was said to have left before the Governor’s arrival.

Bello was received and briefed by his Special Adviser on Security, Jerry Omodara, who was already at the prison.

Some of the information available to Governor bello was that the welfare officer of the prison allowed the inmates access to their phones and this enabled them to communicate with their family members and gangs outside.

It was also reported that military men who were deployed to the prison yard to guard it were not allow to go inside, their beds and property are kept outside where they sleep.

A prisons officials said that this is one of the rules guiding the prisons that only their officials are allowed in.

Governor Bello was was displeased and had to put a call across to the Kogi State Prison Controller, Musa Yahaya Maza, who was said to be at home in Lokoja.

This is about the third time a prison break is taking place at the Koton Karfe Prison.

The Kogi State Governor, Bello Yahaya, has called on the federal government to investigate the incident.

While addressing pressmen, he said it was a conspiracy involving some prison officials and promised to get to the bottom of the incident. He told the officials to arrest the escapee inmates or risk losing their jobs.

Kogi Prison Attack: FG Threatens To Revoke Contract For New Prison

Kogi PrisonThe Minister Of Interior, Mr Patrick Abba Moro, has threatened to terminate the contract for the new Koton Karfe Prison in Kogi State after an attack on the facility.

Speaking to journalists after inspecting the prison, Mr Moro gave the contractor a two-week ultimatum to complete the project.

The Kogi Prison was attacked by unknown gunmen who forcefully released over 100 inmates on Sunday, November 2, 2014.

The Minister expressed dissatisfaction with the slow pace of work on the project and said that government would not hesitate to revoke the contract and re-award it to a more serious and competent contractor.

The new Kogi prison, which is expected to house 80 inmates upon completion, was awarded by the Shehu Shagari government in 1981 but was abandoned and re-awarded by President Jonathan’s administration.

Kogi Prison Break: 12 Escaped Inmates Re-arrested

Kogi PrisonPrison authorities in Kogi State said 12 out of the over 140 inmates that escaped from the Prison have been re-arrested.

The prisoners had escaped from the jail after gunmen armed with grenades and heavy fire arms attacked the Nigeria Federal Prison in Koton-Karfe, Kogi State, Nigeria’s north central region, setting over 140 inmates free.

Residents of the state said that they heard gunshots and explosions at about 10:00pm on Sunday.

Reports say that security operatives made frantic attempts to repel the attack by some gunmen who attacked the prison.

About 119 of the persons in the prison were awaiting trial while one prisoner was killed while the prison guards were trying to ward off the attack.

This would be the second time that gunmen would be attacking the Kogi prison in the last two years.

In February 2012, suspected members of the Boko Haram sect bombed their way into the prison before opening fire on the wardens and emptying the jail of its 200 inmates.

That attack in 2012 left one warden dead.

Minister blames prison official for Kogi jail break

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.”

PANEL TO INVESTIGATE PRISON BREAK

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.

Boko Haram claims attack on Kogi Prison

Boko Haram claims attack on Kogi Prison

The Radical Islamic sect, Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s breaking into the Koton-Karfe prison in Kogi state and freed over one hundred inmates.

A spokesman for the group, who identified himself as Abul-Qaqa disclosed this in a conference call with journalists in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital on Thursday night.

“We staged the operation to rescue seven of our members there (in the prison) and Allah made it possible for the operation to be successful,” Abul-Qada said. He confidently added that “our members are now safely reunited in one of our camps.”

This is coming despite a claim by the Controller-General of Nigerian Prison, Zakari Ibrahim, that the gunmen that attacked the prison were not Boko Haram. Mr. Ibrahim denied the reports that the armed men who broke into the Koton-Karfe prison were members of Boko haram.

He made this known after his inspection of the remains of the attacked prison and a new prison structure in the state. The Controller-General argued that, “they have no records of Boko haram suspects in the prisons in Kogi” and he assured that further investigations are on to determine who the attackers were.

Armed gunmen stormed the prison, Wednesday night with heavy gunfire and explosions, killing one guard and freeing 118 inmates. The gunmen blasted through the prison’s gate with a bomb, leading to the escape of those inside the prison.

However, the Kogi state command of the Nigeria Prisons Service has re-arrested 29 of the 118 inmates who escaped from the Koton-Karfe prison on Wednesday when gunmen attacked the prison.

Sources at the prison say the inmates were picked up from different locations in Koton-Karfe and other villages along the Lokoja-Abuja highway between Wednesday and Thursday.
A manhunt for the remaining inmates is still ongoing.

Boko Haram had in 2010 conducted a similar prison break in Bauchi where it set free about 700 inmates. A similar attack was launched in Kano, earlier in the year when it attacked the police station and prison, setting free hundreds of inmates.