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Jailbreak: Coalition seeks tight security measures, modernisation of custodial facilities



The National Civil Society Forum on Detention and Corrections has called for tight security measures and modernisation of all correctional facilities to address cases of jailbreaks across the country.

The coalition of more than 65 CSOs also said that the there was an urgent need to look at the root causes of jailbreaks and other related issues bedeviling the custodial facilities in the country.

Convener of the forum, Dr Uju Agomoh, made the call while addressing a news conference on Friday in Abuja.

NEWSVERGE reports that no fewer than 119 inmates escaped from the Suleja Medium Security Centre following a rainstorm that damaged the facility on Wednesday.

Agomoh said that that the colonial-era facilities in the correctional system were outdated adding that they were vulnerable to damage, as evidenced by the recent incident in Suleja custodial centre, Niger.

She said that urgent action was needed to replace aging infrastructure with modern facilities equipped with advanced security measures and technology.

According to her, it has become abundantly clear that Nigeria’s correctional facilities are facing a crisis of monumental proportions, there is urgent need to effectively Implement the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) Act 2019.

“This is in light of recent events at the Medium Security Custodial Centre in Suleja, where a significant number of inmates escaped due to severe damage caused by heavy rainfall.

“The destruction of infrastructure and subsequent escape of inmates underscore the urgent need for enhanced security measures and
modernisation of our correctional system.

“We strongly recommend the immediate deployment and utilisation of advanced monitoring devices as stipulated in Section 28 of the NCoS Act 2019.

“This includes observatory towers, close circuit television, body scanners, and electrically activated alarm systems.

“These measures are essential for protecting, controlling, and safeguarding correctional activities, thereby preventing future escapes and enhancing overall security, she said.

Agomoh, who doubled as the Executive Director, Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) said that the forum recommended the establishmernt and maintenance of fully equipped armed squads.

This, she said included intelligence, and investigation units, as mandated by the Act, which were crucial for enhancing security, surveillance, monitoring, and intelligence gathering within correctional facilities.

“These specialised units should be adequately trained and equipped to respond swiftly to security threats and prevent unauthorised access or escapes, she said.

Agomoh said that the gravity of the situation facing Nigeria’s correctional system could not be overstated.

She said that Immediate and decisive action was needed to address the root causes of the
crisis and prevent future incidents.

“We urge the relevant authorities at both the federal and state levels to prioritise the effective implementation of the Nigeria Correctional Service Act 2019.

“They should take urgent steps to modernise our correctional facilities to prevent future incidents and ensure the safety and security of inmates, staff, and the wider community, “she said.

NEWSVERGE reports that the news conference was organised by PRAWA in partnership with the National Civil Society Forum in Detention and Corrections.

Present at the press briefing were the representative from Hope Behind Bars Africa, Nurudeen Hassan, Mr Kenechukwu Agu of Public Private Development Centre (PPDC), and Mrs Kanayo Olisa-Metu Legend Golden Care Foundation (LGCF) among others.

NEWSVERGE reports that no fewer than eight prison outbreaks were recorded in Nigeria between 2021-2022 with over 4000 escapee inmates still at large.

Five prison breaks occurred in 2021 while three occurred in 2022 across the nation.

Ibironke Ariyo

NEWSVERGE, published by The Verge Communications is an online community of international news portal and social advocates dedicated to bringing you commentaries, features, news reports from a Nigerian-African perspective. A unique organization, founded in the spirit of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, comprising of ordinary people with an overriding commitment to seeking the truth and publishing it without fear or favour. The Verge Communications is fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a corporate organization.



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