By Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
The Controller-General of Prisons, Ja’afaru Ahmed, has confirmed that 13 prisoners comprising 10 pre-trial detainees and three convicts escaped from Koton Karfe prison at the weekend. He made the confirmation while on an on-the-spot assessment of the incident in Koton Karfe prison, Kogi State.
A statement by the Head of Public Relations, NPS, Francis Enobore, disclosed that five pre-trial detainees out of the escapees had been recaptured with the assistance of other security agencies and local vigilante groups as well as individuals and had been returned to the prison.
In the meantime, the Controller-General has set up a three-man panel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the escape and forward the report to his office for necessary action.
He assures that appropriate measures are being put in place to address congestion phenomenon particularly among awaiting trial prisoners in line with the reform agenda of the federal government.
The Controller General further stated that security arrangement was being strengthened in and around prison facilities across the country to forestall future occurrence.
Meanwhile, Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, yesterday urged the federal government to constitute a panel of inquiry to probe the jail break at Koton Karfe Medium Prison at the weekend.
The governor who made the call when he paid an on-spot-assessment visit to the prison, said from every indication, an insider played a major role in the escape of the inmates.
The governor, who arrived the prison, could neither meet the state Comptroller of the NPS nor any prison official, wondered why the situation had to be so. He explained that he had earlier informed the state comptroller, but was surprise not to see any prison official to receive him let alone to assess the situation on ground.
“As the chief security officer of the state, I am supposed to see the situation and report back to the federal government. But unfortunately I could not enter there and see things for myself.”
The governor who called the state Comptroller of Prison on phone on his arrival to the prison, wondered why the comptroller was not around despite the fact that he earlier told him that he was coming to the prison.
“The federal and state governments would be interested in setting up a panel of inquiry to probe the last Saturday morning jail break incident particularly when the state government was combating serious crimes,” the governor noted.