The House of Representatives has urged the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service to undertake a staff audit of all employees of the agency and review the service codes of conduct between prisoners and staff of the Service.
The call was a sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Ugonna Ozurigbo (PDP-Imo) at plenary on Wednesday, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
Moving the motion earlier, Ozirigno said that in recent times, the insecurity situation in Nigeria had become commonplace with no exception to the place of attack.
He said that there have been attacks from terrorist groups and non-state actors on the military formations and barracks.
According to him, Police stations and headquarters, and importantly correctional facilities have recorded fatalities and casualties.
The rep said that the recorded successful attacks on sensitive securities locations have stirred public reactions that bothered the control, management, discipline and compromise within the system, helping the operations of the criminals during the attacks.
He recalled that the former President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan described the Kuje prison break as an insider job.
He said, “In the past, especially jailbreaks in correctional facilities in Nigeria, the attacks on security locations were only seen on television.
“Now its occurrences in real life have become incessant Jailbreaks in 2004 (1), 2007 (1), 2010 (1), 2012 (1), 2013 (2), 2014 (5), 2020 (6), 2021 (6) and 2022.
“Worried that there were three jailbreaks between January and July 2022 in Mandala, Kwara on Jn. 2, 2022, Agbor correctional facility, Delta in May and Kuje Prison in July 2022.
“In each of these jailbreaks, inmates escaped and the facility was torched during the Kuje prison break that occurred in July 2021, 879 inmates including 64 terrorists affiliated with Islamic State (IS) escaped.”
Ozurigbo said that the recent letter written by aggrieved Nigerian Correctional Service personnel to the President as reported in the media stating that officials now borrow money from inmates is a testimony to the numerous shady activities within the system.
According to him, this is validating public concern on the allegations of corruption and poor management of the facilities fueling inside job assertions to the attacks in the country.
The lawmaker said that collecting money in the form of any guise has implications and could be a case of who pays the piper calls the tune.
He said that jailbreaks and other terrible illicit activities will become a more recurring decimal if nothing is done.
He said that an intervention from the House of Representatives will unravel the cankerworms which could have caused major laxities and eventually restore sanity to the country’s correctional services and operations;
Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu mandated the Committee on Reformation Institutions (when constituted) to investigate the state of the NCS and report back within three weeks for further legislative action.
The publication reported that the Kuje prison, in Abuja, was attacked on July 5, 2022.
An official statement from the NCS said that over 889 escaped from Kuje prisons, including Boko Haram terrorists.
According to the official statement, 559 prisoners remained in the prisons after the attack, 443 have been recaptured and 443 are at large.
This is Nigeria’s 20th jailbreak in seven years.
The NCS underwent a name change in 2019.
The centre’s capacity in Nigeria, across all facilities is 50,000 but the actual population of Nigerian prisons is over 70,000 spread across 253 custodial centres in the country.