The Nigerian Senate has addressed the facts surrounding the reported jailbreak at the Suleja Medium Security Custodial Centre, citing the collapse of the prison wall, which was built with mud bricks over a century ago.

The event occurred two weeks ago and resulted in the escape of 119 convicts.

Senator Adams Oshiomhole, head of the Senate Committee on Interior, stated to journalists following a closed-door meeting with the Minister of Interior, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, that heavy rainfall and storms caused the decrepit prison wall to collapse, allowing convicts to leave.

Tunji-Ojo, had, during his visit to the affected facility two weeks ago, disclosed that the government was planning to relocate some correctional centres to create better space, security and infrastructure.

The Senate, on Tuesday, stated that efforts by the minister and the security agencies had helped in re-arresting some of the fugitives, and pledged that more would be tracked in the coming days.

Oshiomhole said: “I know exactly that this particular prison was built in 1914. I think that was the year of the amalgamation of southern and northern Nigeria for about 200 people. And they now have about 419 inmates. And some of these places were built with mud.

So, it was not really a jailbreak. You had heavy rainfall, a storm, and then the wall fell, and then the roof, even if you were in your private house and it is raining and you have a storm and your roof is gone and your walls come down, will you remain in the place?

“So, naturally, people find an escape. The good news is that they have what it takes to retrack them. And they have already re-arrested some of them, and the effort is still ongoing to get the rest of the people.”

Oshiomole further pointed out the need for modernisation of prison infrastructure, stressing that facilities built a hundred years ago are inadequate and do not meet modern standards.

He stated the importance of utilising modern technology to enhance prison security and functionality.

Addressing concerns about the state of Nigeria’s prison system, Senator Oshiomhole expressed dissatisfaction with the high number of inmates awaiting trial, the majority of whom have not been convicted.

He also noted that many inmates are detained for minor offences and called for a review of the justice system to prevent the incarceration of innocent citizens.

“Now somebody commits an offence, probably fights the other, and takes him to prison. A magistrate is in a hurry to remand, depending on who wants the person detained. And so we have a lot of people.

“The third element is the fact that most of the people in prison are under state offences. And under the constitution, as amended, the state ought to bear responsibilities for people convicted under the laws of the state,” he further stated.

The Senate commended the efforts of the minister and relevant agencies, affirming their support for providing legislative backing and resources to address the challenges faced by correctional services.

In his response, Tunji-Ojo assured that the federal government is taking necessary measures to prevent future occurrences and ensure the safety of inmates.

He stated that everything is under control and that steps are being taken to create a safe correctional environment.

“We spoke about the root cause of the matter. What happened. We spoke about what we are doing, which I won’t be able to say here for security reasons. And we also discussed solutions in terms of making sure that this doesn’t happen again.

“And I can tell you, the federal government is in control of this; everything is under control. Mr. President, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is actually putting in everything through the Ministry of Interior and the Nigerian Correctional Services to make sure that there is no reoccurrence. We will have a correctional centre that is safe for all inmates,” he added.




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