From Moshood Adebayo, Abeokuta
An early morning jail break in Sagamu, Ogun state yesterday led to the escape of 20 inmates of the prison. During the melee that trailed the jailbreak, many of the inmates as well as prison officials were seriously injured. Saturday Sun gathered that many inmates were killed during the jailbreak which caught the authorities unaware.
During the revolt, many dangerous weapons including missiles were freely used prompting the authorities to draft in members of the armed squad to quel the riot. A large hole was dug on the prison wall through which they escaped after a stimulated revolt by the prisoners. As a result of the development, many of the prison officials who were suspected to have connived with some inmates were already being interrogated by the police.
The Controller General of the Nigeria Prisons Service, Mr. Zakari Ohinoyi Ibrahim, who confirmed the jailbreak after an unscheduled visit, told journalists that four of the runaway prisoners had been re-arrested and brought back to the prison. He also disclosed that an investigation team had been constituted to ascertain the remote causes of the jailbreak.
His words: “The essence of the visit is a follow-up to the seriousness we attach to the issue of security because security is one of our major mandates in the prisons and this administration has said it over and over again that we would not tolerate any breach of security, especially when it points at any form of negligence. “If it goes beyond administrative negligence with criminality, we’ll bring in the police and other sister agencies responsible so that we prove that we’ll not tolerate any lack of commitment to job, especially the one that touches on security.
“So, we have some issues here and that’s why I’m here. The issue is that there have been some escapes here. So, I came personally and even before coming I’ve sent a high-powered team here and I’m following up to ensure that the right thing is done and that any staff found culpable would face the full wrath of the law which will include dismissal and prosecution. “What I can tell you now, because full investigation is on, is we have about 20 escapees and some of them have been arrested now and full investigation is on.
About four of them have been arrested. But what you must just go with now is that any staff that is found culpable would be dealt with accordingly.” He refused to confirm casualty figure, saying: “Don’t worry, I’ve told you investigation is on and you should also know that when there is an incident like this, there should be full investigation. Investigations are on. I’ve addressed the staff and I’ve told them we would not give room for half commitment. “The commitment has to be full, total and even with the situation we have in the country now, we would not want anybody who would unnecessarily want to embarrass us because if you are not ready, you move. There is no choice.
You either remain and go by the law and work hard with full commitment. We are fully committed to this job and we want to work as a team but if you want to distract us or bring things that would embarrass us, we’ll tell you to go. But it will be better for those who don’t want to stay to go than for us to push them out because we are serious. Security is not something that we’ll play with at all.” According to him, the launched investigations would assist the authorities to determine a lot of things.
“External influence? Investigations would prove that. In terms of the structure, you can see the wall is solid and on top we have fence wire. Everything is okay but we are talking about the human beings now, the human factor and I’m telling you that if investigation indicts any person that has not done his job the way he’s supposed to do it, it can lead to dismissal and even prosecution and the person may change uniform”, he stated.