Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives has said it will probe the alleged attempted jailbreak at the Kaduna Correctional Centre last Tuesday as well as the circumstances surrounding the death of some of the inmates at centre, when it resumes plenary later in the month.
The Chairman, House Committee on Reformatory Institutions, Anayo Edwin, in a statement, yesterday, said an inquest into the circumstances leading to the death of the inmates has become necessary following conflicting reports on the incident.
Edwin noted that there have been different account about what actually transpired at the correctional centre and the number of inmates that died in the process.
According to him, “the House is concerned that by media reports, deaths resulted from an alleged attempted jail break by inmates, and in another report, the deaths recorded at the Correctional Centre was an expression displeasure by the armed squad of the Service over the way and manner the inmate expressed their fear of possible spread of corona virus into the facility following the admission of persons showing symptoms of the disease.
“There are conflicting figures over the number of casualties recorded during the incident and the Comptroller General of Correction is yet to issue any official press statement on the incident.
“It is possible that when the CG talks, more facts will emerge. All these facts therefore require investigations for the Committee to take an informed position.”
The lawmaker reiterated his earlier call for the Nigerian Correctional Service to take urgent steps to protect inmates and staff of the service nationwide from the COVID 19, which is currently ravaging the world, noting that it is imperative for the service to urgently put in place measures to take care of inmates in the event of any eventuality.
Edwin charged the authorities of the Nigerian Correctional Service to place high premium on the safety of the inmates, as the House frowns seriously on the needless death of any inmate.
The 9th House, in line with its legislative agenda, is committed to the wellbeing of inmates at the various correctional centres across the country, who by law retains their right to life and dignity of persons at all times, even in the face of death sentence before their actual execution in line with the orders of the court.
The committee chairman charged the relevant stakeholders in the administration of criminal justice, both at the federal and state levels to take urgent steps to decongest the various correctional centres across the country.