11th December, 2014
The recent attacks and jail break in the country have clearly shown the security lapses in prisons across the country. In the last three months, there have been attacks on prisons and attempts to free inmates. While most of the attempts were successful, recapturing some of the inmates have been a tough task.
In October this year, at least 10 prison inmates were reported to have attempted to escape from the maxium security prison in Kirikiri, Apapa, Lagos. In the same manner, hundreds of prisoners were freed in a coordinated jail break in Bauchi, Ado Ekiti and Minna. This shameful development has really portrayed the country and the Nigerian prison officials in a bad light.
Jail breaks have become very rampant because corrupt prison officials allow prison inmates to use their phones while in custody. In this kind of situation, the inmates could easily use their phones to contact people outside to plan their escape. Some of the officials have been accused of conniving with some inmates and their allies outside the prisons to aid prison breaks.
Prison authorities need to fish out the bad eggs in the service to salvage the battered image. There is urgent need to beef-up security in prisons and for prison officials to wake up to their responsibilities.
There might be the need to constitute a team of security experts who will investigate these jail breaks that have taken place so far, correct security lapses in prisons and recommend ways to forestall future occurrence.
The attacks should also serve as an eye opener for the Federal Government to begin massive reform of prisons across the country. Congestion, poor infrastructure and lack of reformatory activities in prisons have been a major challenge in the prisons. Prison ought to be a training ground and not another den for breeding unscrupulous elements.