The current deteriorating security in the country may not be unconnected to the incessant jailbreaks that have several times, given room to criminals to return illegally to the society.
There have been series of attacks on Nigerian correctional facilities in many parts of the country as some unscrupulous citizens whose gang members may have been imprisoned over crimes, attacked the facilities to free their fellow bloodthirsty criminals.
Since September 7, 2010 when about 50 gunmen suspected to be members of Boko Haram insurgents attacked the Bauchi prisons, leading to the freedom of over 721 inmates and the killing of about five others, the country has continued to witness more incidents of prison breaks..
NDREPORTERS recalls that a similar incident occurred on January 4, 2013, when some assailants attacked the Sagamu Minimum Prisons, Ogun State and over twenty inmates were freed while prison officers sustained varying degrees of injuries.
Same year, on 30 June 2013, the Olokuta Medium Security Prisons in Akure, Ondo State was also attacked by 50 gunmen suspected to be armed robbers. It was reported that no fewer than 175 inmates ran away while two were killed and one other person injured.
Four incidents of jailbreaks occurred in 2014, beginning from October 10 when gunmen attacked Kirikiri Medium Prisons in Lagos State, leaving at least 20 inmates dead and 80 others injured while twelve others escaped.
Barely a month after that, the Federal Medium Security Prisons in Koto-Karffi, Kogi State was attacked by gunmen as about 144 inmates escaped the prison while one was killed during the incident.
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Recall also that in December 2014, the Federal Prisons at Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State and the Minna Medium Prisons were attacked and over 1,000 inmates escaped in the separate incidents.
The Federal Capital Territory, FCT was not left out in the menace as gunmen on 24 June 2016 attacked the Kuje Medium Security Prisons when two high profile inmates – Solomon Amodu and Maxwell Ajukwu were said to have escaped the facility through the fence.
The memory of the attack on prisons in Benin City and Oko in Edo State on October 19, 2020 which was birthed by the historical ENDSARs protest leading to the freedom of about 1,993 inmates is still fresh among Nigerians.
It can also be recalled that on 5 April 2021, a group believed to be Eastern Security Network, ESN, a security wing of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB attacked Owerri Prisons, Imo State. No fewer than 1,844 inmates escaped during the attack.
Another incident currently generating reactions from concerned Nigerians occurred at the medium federal correctional centre in Kabba, Kabba/Bunu Local Government Area of Kogi State where about 240 inmates escaped.
Some stakeholders who spoke with our correspondent in Abuja, blamed the incessant prison breaks on poor infrastructure, adding that the facilities are not properly secured to disallow invasion by gunmen.
A lecturer at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Abuja, Dr Adewale Micheal told NDREPORTERS that the reoccurring incidents have posed great security threat to the entire nation.
He said, “Correctional facilities are expected to be the most secured government facilities in the country but it always beat my imagination that our prisons are always attacked. You don’t expect the inmates to be happy that they are in prison, they are always looking for the opportunity to go into the society and revenge before they die.
“This is why you see that attacks on security operatives are more rampant in the country. Nigeria currently does not have what it takes to track fleeing inmates. Once they enter into the society, that may be the end of it. The Federal Government needs to take this issue very seriously if not, the entire nation is in trouble.”
Similarly, a retired military personnel who pleaded not to be mentioned told our correspondent that the Federal Government has a lot to do to stop the trend by equipping the facilities with necessary technology that would aid the prison guards to secure the areas.
He said, “Sometimes I feel very ashamed to hear reports of attacks on correctional centers. How can a place where criminals are kept be so vulnerable to attacks? I doubt if we even have CCTV in those facilities.
” A lot must be done, but if the Federal Government fails to do the needful, then we are all doomed because there would be no need to fight crime in the society when the criminals convicted and sent to prisons will still come to attack people all in the name of jailbreak which is caused mostly by negligence