The Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd.) has admitted knowing about security lapses at the Kuje Medium Prison in Abuja, which recently experienced a jail break by two inmates.
He made the disclosure in a chat with reporters shortly after carrying an on-the-spot assessment of the facility on Monday.
There were reports at the weekend that Charles Okah, the alleged mastermind of the 2010 Independence Day bombing in Abuja, who is in detention at the Kuje prisons, had escaped but this was later dismissed as false.
However, two inmates awaiting trial for culpable homicide, were confirmed to have escaped the prison and are currently at large.
In his chat with journalists, Dambazau disclosed that he had earlier called the attention of the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) to the gaps, which he had noticed and eventually led to the prisoners’ escape.
“This is a very serious issue”, the minister lamented. “The security gaps that I observed when I came here the last time, though I don’t want to preempt the outcome of the investigation, I think those lapses were what made it possible for the prisoners to escape”.
He said an investigation had already commenced by the Controller General of the Prisons Service, Ja’afaru Ahmed, noting that efforts will be made to reinforce security at the prison facility.
Dambazau, who insisted that the names of all inmates at the prison must be known by the authorities, advised Prison wardens and officers to take their job seriously.
“This place is a warehouse where we ensure that anyone who passes through here does not go out as a criminal. So, if we leave these gaps, we will never be able to achieve our objectives”, he said.
Dambazau, a former Army Chief, who said the report of a preliminary investigation conducted has been submitted to him, however, refused to respond to reporters’ inquiries on how the inmates escaped from the prison facility.
He, however, assured that anyone found guilty will be punished even as he said efforts were being doubled to recapture the fleeing prisoners.