By Samson Ojodomo Onuche,
Nigeria has witnessed a significant rise in the incidence of jailbreak from 2015-2022. The most recent successful jailbreak, is the attack on the Nigeria Correctional Centre facilities in Kuje, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on 6 July 2022, which led to the escape of several inmates.
According to Hope Behind Bars Africa data on jailbreak in Nigeria, there have been 13 successful jailbreaks and 8 unsuccessful attempts from 2015-2022. A total of about 6,611 inmates have successfully escaped from Correctional facilities across various states in Nigeria. This data points to the fact that there is 80% percent success on jailbreak/attacks and 20% unsuccessful jailbreak/attack attempts within the past 7 years.
These incidents are worrisome, it presents a grave consequence on the security challenges currently being faced by Nigeria. By law, The Nigeria Correctional Centre Custodial facilities are built to hold inmates suspected to have committed a crime or persons convicted of a crime. These inmates are expected to go through various stages that will ensure reformation, before they are reintegrated to the society. Therefore, Jailbreak clogs the laudable purposes of incarceration.
Wryly, there has been contributory negligence on the part of the government that has upsurge jailbreaks in Nigeria. In advanced systems, the Prisons are classified into categories such as; Maxi-Maxi security Prisons, Maximum Security Prisons, Medium Security Prisons, Minimum security Prisons, Women’s Prison etc. Inmates are strictly kept in each facility based on the security risk such inmates pose. This has not been observed strictly in Nigeria. There are also situations of inadequate information management system for inmates, lack of modern security technology, inadequate manpower and security personnel, corruption and conspiracy from Correctional Service officers. The Nigerian government has also been more reactive to incidence of jailbreak rather than taking proactive steps to prevent jailbreak.
While the Nigeria Correctional Services authorities have made an effort to apprehend the escapees from the Kuje Jailbreak and have published the names and pictures of these escapees, this effort may not heed the desired result, due to the fact that such pictures were
not displayed in conspicuous places across Nigeria and there are no adequate data or profiling of these escapees.
The government must avoid these messy situations. Strict classification of inmates in Correctional facilities must be carried out. There must also be the speedy determination of criminal cases and decongestion of Correctional Centres in line with the laudable provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and Laws of states that have domesticated it. Superintendents and other officers of Corrections must maintain cordial relationships with inmates. This will encourage inmates to report conspiracy from other inmates. There must be control of inmates’ subcultures and cliques, proper feeding, a Hygienic environment,
comfortable cells, good medical facilities, fortification of the prison perimeter fence, modern security and surveillance system, and proper documentation of inmate’s data on the Nigerian Corrections Information Management System (CIMS). Emergent actions must be taken in the general security architecture of the country. These will go a long way to forestall future occurrences of jailbreaks in Nigeria.