General

THE 3,906 INMATES STILL ON THE RUN AND AREGBESOLA

The attacks on military formations and correctional facilities do not mean that the ministers of defence and interior have abandoned their duties. Those that abandoned more than 25 armoured tanks purchased by Aregbesola in Osun are accusing the minister of abandoning his duty at the ministry of interior. I want to put the records straight that the rehabilitation and upgrading of correctional centres have not been included in Nigerian budgets since 2015.

 

If resources are made available today, Rauf Aregbesola will rehabilitate and upgrade correctional facilities to meet 21st century standard across Nigeria to prevent future jailbreaks. Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior has ambition plans for the upgrade and rehabilitation of correctional facilities across the states to prevent future jailbreaks. Recently, the committee on appropriations was mandated by House of Representatives to include the rehabilitation and upgrade of the correctional centres in the 2022 budget estimates. The House noted with concern the recent cases of jailbreaks, saying that it was dangerous for such convicted criminals to be let loose. It was concerned that if adequate steps were not taken to re-arrest the escaped convicts and provide adequate security in correctional centres, some of the criminals who escaped may become more emboldened to the point of forming terrorist groups that would put the country in jeopardy.

 

Aregbesola has plans to rehabilitate and upgrade the Correctional Centres with latest and sophisticated arms such as GPMG and automatic machine guns and other security electric fence wires attached with shocking gadgets and highly sophisticated CCTV Cameras provided there is budgetary provision.

 

The federal government has disclosed that it would establish six new modern custodial facilities in the six geo-political zones in the country. The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, disclosed this in Kano while inspecting the ongoing model maximum security custodial facility project at Janguza in Kumbotso Local Government Area of the state. Aregbesola said the project was part of projects initiated by the federal government to reform the correctional service. A shift to prioritizing rehabilitation programs would address the root cause of crime and lead to an overall more effective prison system that discourages people from recommitting crimes. Thus, it is important to focus on implementing policies that would prevent inmates from engaging in criminal acts once released. As it stands now, the current correctional system is doing a horrendous job: over 75 percent of released inmates are re-incarcerated within five years of discharge from prison. Thus, it is clear that punishment is ineffective. Prioritizing and strengthening rehabilitation programs would prepare inmates to be better members of society and be less likely to commit crimes again. There are various programs that have been implemented that have shown tremendous success. He said: “We are actualising our commitment to reform the correctional service that we have in Nigeria.

 

According to Aregbesola, “What we have here is a model of what we expect to have nationwide. Here, we have a 3,000 custodial facility, which we plan to replicate in each of the six geo-political zones in the country. “It is designed for inmates awaiting trial, a petty, medium and maximum security facility,” the minister said.

Aregbesola, who has expressed satisfaction with the project, commended President Buhari for his support to the correctional service reforms aimed at enhancing its operations.

In his remarks, the Controller-General, Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS), Mr Ahmad Jafaru said that the project was designed with court, dormitories, school, hospital, skills acquisition centre and a mosque, among others. He said the project would be commissioned this year, adding that the ancient Kurmawa Maximum Prison had been upgraded into a rehabilitation centre.

 

RECENTLY, the Minister of Interior, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, made a statement over the frightening attack on correctional centres across the country. He declared that no fewer than 3,906 inmates were still on the run after a number of jailbreaks in parts of the country, but that the Federal Government had the capacity and wherewithal to recapture the fleeing inmates, including convicted hardened criminals. “How long can they continue to run from the state? The state is a patient bird. You can run, but you can’t hide. We have their biometrics; whenever and wherever they appear to transact business, their cover will be blown,” he said.

 

There have been at least eight jailbreaks in the last one year, and a large proportion of the inmates remain on the run. This scenario speaks volumes about the performance of the Federal Government in ensuring the general security of life and property in the country. Between 2017 and July this year, at least 4,307 inmates were believed to have escaped from correctional centres. In 2021 alone, more than 2000 inmates were freed in two jailbreaks. The figures included 240 inmates that were freed after gunmen invaded a detention facility in Kogi State with explosives in September 2021. On April 5, about 2000 inmates were freed in Imo State when gunmen blew up a correctional facility and later attacked the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the state police command and freed a number of suspects. There were also cases of attempted jailbreaks at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre in Lagos State and a similar facility in Bauchi State, as well as Ubiaja in Edo State.

 

According to Aregbesola, biometrics of all inmates in the country has been captured, and it is the hope of the Federal Government that this exercise will aid the tracking and re-arrest of the escapees. The former governor of Osun State stressed that the recent attacks on some correctional facilities in the country are a reflection of the insecurity in Nigeria. He explained that the government is on the trail of some of the attackers with a couple of them arrested in Imo State. The minister assured Nigerians that a ministerial task force will soon be inaugurated to enforce the re-arrest of all escapees and their collaborators.

 

Aregbesola’s comments come a few weeks after gunmen attacked the Medium Security Custodial Centre in the Abolongo area of Oyo State with an unconfirmed number of inmates escaping from the facility. A few hours after the siege, the Federal Government said operatives had recaptured some of the inmates. The Interior Minister in his reaction to the incident assured Nigerians that “the Federal Government will pursue not just those who attacked our facility, but those who have escaped lawful custody”.

 

Source: The Nigerian Observer