Army highlights factors responsible for 2022 Kuje prison break - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Army highlights factors responsible for 2022 Kuje prison break

The Nigerian Army has identified absence of CCTV cameras and low fence was responsible for the Kuje prison break on July 5, 2022.

Representing the Chief of Army staff, the Assistant Director Commercial Law, Directorate of Legal Services, Major Ogbuinya made revelation during the probe instituted by the House of Representatives Joint Committees on Reformatory Institutions, Justice, Police Affairs, Interior, and Human Rights in Abuja on Wednesday.

The committee is investigating the whereabouts of inmates who escaped from Kuje Corrections Center.

According to Ogbuinya, the army “observed that the place where Kuje prison is located is more of a built-up area.

“We observed issues of low fencing and a lack of CCTV cameras within the area, but these were unable to be put in place before the incident.”

The representative of the Chief of Army Staff, Ogbuinya, said the Nigerian Army was only playing a complimentary role to the correctional centers to assist them.

He added that the army was not the only security agency deployed to Kuje prison.

According to him, "the day it took place, we had a rotation of troops, and it was that day the incident took place. I wouldn’t want to comment on the possibility of having an insider.

“Prior to that incident, the Nigerian army wrote a series of letters to the Comptroller General of the Correctional Service concerning our observations and things that would enhance security.

“We are still working to know if there are any soldiers who failed to do what they were meant to do within the military hierarchy.”

Mrs Ayoola Daniel, representing the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, said the ministry was in support of the committee to decongest the prison.

She said the correctional service had been removed from the exclusive to concurrent list, adding that states were expected to take up responsibility to decongest the prison.

Also speaking, Philip Ayuba, Assistant Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps asked the committee to look into how lawyers who are in the National Youth Service Corps could be engaged in providing services for prisoners.

“We still have so many young men in prison; we are requesting that NYSC lawyers be sent to prison to look at some of the minor cases so that we can decongest the prison.

He called for the need to embrace alternative conflict resolution, adding that this would also help to decongest the prison.

“We also suggest that those who have stayed more than a year or two should be given amnesty. They need to give the inmate better training so that those who leave can find better things to do.”

Rep. Olumide Osoba, Chairman of the Committee on Justice, said, “We found ourselves in an embarrassing situation in July 2022.

He said it was condemnable to have such a large number of prisoners, adding that there had been a lot of improvement at the correctional center since its oversight.

Rep. Chinedu Ogah, Chairman, Joint Committees, said the correctional service is key to Nigeria’s security.

He said that the committee would do what was right by ensuring decongestion while urging stakeholders to make effective contributions to do what was needed.

Deputy GC, Mr Mohammed Tukur said all that was needed to decongest the prison was money.

Some of the stakeholders invited by the joint committee to make inputs into the investigative hearing are: Nigerian police and civil society organizations

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