From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
MINISTER of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (retd), has indicted the prison authorities over the escape of two culpable homicide inmates of Kuje Medium Prisons.
Speaking after visiting the prison, Dambazau who blamed the incident on serious security lapses, stressed that the prison authorities ignored his warning to tighten security, warning that government would no longer tolerate the escape of any other prison inmate let alone the two facing homicide case.
He said rather than jump the gun over the fate of the officers responsible for the security lapses, he would rather wait to see the report of the panel of inquiry set up by the Controller General.
“We assessed the general security situation following the escape of the two inmates. The last time I was here, I noticed some security lapses, I made my observation known to the former CG of prison and the present controller. I told them precisely what to do, but unfortunately, they did not, until this occurred.
“The Controller General 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 precisely 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 her duty, things like that will not happen. The prisons are very important in the 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 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 good 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 which made it possible for the escape must be covered to ensure it 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.”