The Nigerian Correctional Service has said it is tracking inmates who escaped from its custodial centres with technology.
It was reported that two years after the attack on the Owerri Custodial Centre in Imo State, 864 fleeing inmates had yet to be recaptured.
The names and images of the fleeing inmates, who were declared wanted, were sighted by our correspondent on Saturday on the Ministry of Interior’s website.
Also, 17 months after the attack on the Kuje Medium Custodial Centre in the Federal Capital Territory, over 400 fleeing inmates have yet to be recaptured.
The names, images, and prison identification numbers of the fleeing inmates who were declared wanted were also sighted by our correspondent on Saturday on the Nigerian Correctional Service’s website.
Speaking with our correspondent, the NcoS’s spokesperson, Umar Abubakar, said measures were being deployed to track down fleeing inmates.
Abubakar said, “The attacks on our facilities were unfortunate incidents, which the Service has since nipped in the bud. At the moment, we have deployed different measures in recapturing fleeing inmates such as the use of technological gadgets in tracking them.
“So far, we have recaptured a good number of the escapees, and we have deployed overt and covert measures to track down those still at large.”
When asked how the NCoS was ensuring that fleeing inmates were recaptured, the spokesperson said, “We have done so much to recapture fleeing inmates. We have employed different approaches, especially using intelligence gathering and collaborations with security agencies and community leaders to track them down.
“In conjunction with sister security agencies and the community, we have been able to track most of them down and return them to custody. Just recently, we apprehended one of them who escaped from Jos Custodial Centre, and he is now back in custody.
“I hereby use this medium to request all Nigerians to look out for these fleeing inmates and notify the nearest security agency when they come across any of them. We have their pictures in circulation and also can be found on our website: www.corrections.gov.ng.”
Abubakar further stated that re-arrested inmates were facing fresh charges, adding that, “Escape from lawful custody is a serious offence under our laws; hence, it will be a travesty of justice not to prosecute those that escaped from custodial facilities.
“So yes, when we recapture them, fresh charges based on the new offence committed are levelled against them, and they are charged to court for adjudication.”
He also said that measures were currently in place to tighten security around the correctional centres to prevent external attacks.
Umar said “We are deploying several strategies to tighten security in and around correctional centres to forestall external aggression and attacks. From the situation room, we monitor every movement in the custodial facilities.
When asked whether there were plans by the Federal Government to construct more prison facilities across the country to decongest the existing ones, he said, “Presently, construction of more custodial facilities is ongoing in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria. Six mega custodial centres are being built in all the geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
“The first of them was commissioned in Janguza, Kano state, in May 2023 by the former President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari. The other five are at various stages of completion and will be inaugurated soon.
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