(Romanus Ugwu, ABUJA)
Minister of Interior, Lt Gen Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (Rtd), has condemned prison authorities over the escape of two culpable homicide inmates of Kuje Medium Prison frowning that they negligently relaxed security.
Speaking after visiting the prison, the Dambazau who blamed the incident on serious security lapses, stressed that they ignored his warning at his previous visit to the prison to tighten security, warning that government can no longer tolerate the escape of any other prison inmate let alone the two facing homicide case.
He said that though he won’t want to jump the gun over the fate of the officers responsible for the security lapses, he would rather wait to see what the panel of inquiry set up by the Controller General comes out with before taking action.
According to him, “We accessed the general security situation following the escape of the two inmates. The last time I was here, I noticed some security lapses in the prison, I made my observation then known to the former CG of prison with the present controller and I told them precisely what to do but unfortunately they did not until this occurred.
“The Controller General of prison has started investigation into the matter and I will also do everything possible to ensure that we reinforce the security here and also follow the routines very importantly. We need to know princely what to do, the number of inmates in a particular cell, not just in terms of numbers but by their names.
“I believe that if every officer takes seriously his or duty, things like that will not happen. The prisons are very important in the cabinet justice administration because this is the warehouse and custody of prisoners. The responsibility of the custody lies on ensuring that anybody who passes through the prison does not go back to the society as a criminal.
“It is a place we rehabilitate the prisoners. So if we leave security gaps, we will never achieve our objective. We are going to take it very seriously to ensure that such did not repeat itself. We will ensure that we enforce security as much as possible. We want to ensure that every prison officer handles his responsibilities the way it should be.
“It is not a good situation to see two prisoners escape. Not just ordinary prisoners but the ones awaiting trial for murder. It is a very serious issue. Without preempting what the investigative panel will come out with, those security gaps I observed last time I visited which made it possible for the escape must be covered to ensure that things like that did not happen again.
“It will be difficult to tell you whether heads will roll or not but I would rather wait for the outcome of the report of the panel the CG set up before taking further action,” he noted.