Boko Haram set free 2,255 prisoners, killed 46 officers

Boko Haram set free 2,255 prisoners, killed 46 officers

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 7:59 pm

The old Koton Karfe Prison in Lokoja: jailbreak after attacked  by gunmen

The old Koton Karfe Prison in Lokoja: jailbreak after attacked by gunmen

Ayorinde Oluokun/Abuja
The Nigerian Prison Service, NPS said on Wednesday that 2, 255 prisoners have been freed from its cells by men suspected to be members of insurgent group, Boko Haram in 14 different attacks in the past five years.

Also, 46 prison officers have also been killed since the inception of the insurgency.

Speaking at a Forum of Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA)/I-Nigerian Initiative media interaction in Abuja, Tope Fanitikun, spokesperson for NPS said between July 27, 2009 when Boko Haram terrorists allegedly attacked Maiduguri Prisons and freed 482 inmates and October 29, 2014 when another set of 366 inmates were also freed following the overrun of Mubi, the second largest town in Adamawa State, a total 2,255 prison inmates have been freed from various prisons across the country in 14 different attacks.

He however said 194 of the escapee inmates have so far been rearrested.

“A total of forty six prison officers comprising 42 and four retired personnel have been killed since the inception of the insurgency,” the NPS spokesperson added.

The NPS spokesperson who the negative societal attitude to ex-convicts, explained that there are robust training and productivity opportunities available to prisoners with full fledged industrial and small and medium scale enterprises established in this regard.

Some of the vocations the prisoners are being trained in the detention facilities include furniture cottage industry, printing industry, toilet roll industry, soap cottage industry, shoe factory and an industrial complex aside 47 other agro-allied businesses scattered across the states.

“National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) established special study centres in Kirikiri Medium Security Prison, Lagos, Enugu, Kuje, and Port-Harcourt with some inmates in Lagos bagging a university degree and post graduate diploma from NOUN.

“69 inmates of Borstal Institution (young people’s prison), Kaduna sat for the UTME, while another 55 inmates enrolled for the November/December NECO/WAEC examinations,” said the NPS spokesperson.

He added that government has also increased feeding allowance of inmates in Nigeria prisons from N200 to N300 and Gas N150 daily from January 2015.

Fatinikun who identified inadequate budgetary allocation, prison congestion, inadequate staffing, insurgency and terrorism as some of the challenges facing the Service said as at June this year, 56,785 inmates made up of 18,042 convicted and 38,743 awaiting trial persons were dwelling inside the 239 prisons located in different parts of the country.

According to him, 947 of these were young male offenders, 151 foreigners, 10 babies and 1,439 have been sentenced to die.

The spokesperson attributed the problem of congestions in Nigeria prisons to a number of factors including inadequate operational vehicles, citing the case of Lagos and Kaduna with over 200 and 100 courts and the NPS has only 20 and 10 vehicles respectively to convey inmates to courts for trials.

Fanitikun also called for provision of heavy arms and ammunition for the service including helicopters and armoured personnel carriers for it to be able to respond to incessant attacks on prison formations and personnel.

In her welcome address, National Coordinator of I-Nigerian Initiate, Ada Stella Apiafi appealed to Nigerians to change their negative attitude towards prisoners, ex-convicts and prison officials, saying “these people should be shown love and accommodation in the society so that they will be properly re-integrated.

She commended the NPS and urged that its staff will continue to exhibit exemplary behaviour in spite of the challenges confronting them.

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