Lazarus Ogbee, chairman, House Committee on Reformatory Institutions, while addressing journalists in Abuja on Friday, described the development as “the first of it’s kind” in the world.
An early morning downpour on Monday in Koton-Karfe, Kogi Local Government Area of Kogi State had led to the escape of 228 inmates from the medium federal correctional centre.
The inmates were able to escape because some parts of the prison collapsed after a massive flood hit the building. Apart from the prison facility, many houses in the area were submerged by floodwater.
Ogbee, who is representing Ikwo/Ezza-South Federal Constituency of Ebonyi State, stated that the conference was called in view of alleged incessant jailbreaks in the country.
He said, “What is even more astonishing is the simplicity and the brazenness with which they occur, mostly engineered by armed men. However, the most recent one in Kogi State was caused by ‘over flooding’ of the correctional facility in Koton Karfe, resulting in over 200 inmates escaping from the facility. Though, as you are all aware, a number of them were rearrested and posted to other custodial centres in the state. This nature of jailbreak is first of its kind in the whole world and to say the least, embarrassing.”
The lawmaker said the House Committee on Reformatory Institutions, with oversight jurisdiction over the National Correctional Service, “is deeply concerned with these occurrences, particularly in view of the current state of security in the nation.”
He added, “It is factual that over 70 per cent of inmates are on the awaiting trial list; this situation is appalling and unacceptable and requires immediate redress from concerned authority. The Nigerian justice system must be overhauled for optimal performance in the NCS and its formations.”