BY ADEGWU JOHN, Abuja
With 3,459 inmates that escaped from prisons yet to be recaptured, experts have warned that the escapees could pose danger of reoffending and becoming more vicious criminals in the society.
They stressed that high risk fugitive offenders especially the escapees who ran away to escape justice in the face of overwhelming evidences against them would likely carry out more chronic crimes or repetition of other antisocial behaviours.
A security expert and the national president, Association of Licenced Private Security Practitioners of Nigeria, Barrister Wilson Esangbedo who spoke to LEADERSHIP expressed fears that escaped inmates could pose security threats to the society and called for reforms even as he emphasized the need to make correctional centres more comfortable for prisoners to live in.
Esangbedo noted that regular and special training for prison warders on how to prevent jailbreaks would help curtail such occurrences in the future.
He added that the uses of contemporary technology in protecting prisons and effective collaboration with the military and police are other ways to help build solid correctional centres and secure prisons from attacks.
Another expert and executive director, Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), Dr Uju Agomoh warned that high risk offender inmates pose danger of recidivism to public security and safety with far reaching consequences to the peace and stability of the nation as she made case for a strong and holistic reform to strengthen the criminal justice system.
While attributing the new wave of jail breaks in Nigeria to the general level of insecurity in the country and underscored the need for increased investment in justice, security and development, Agomoh noted that there should be provision of modern security gadgets towards safeguarding the security of custodial centres.
She lamented the poor security architecture of custodial centres which makes them to be susceptible to sabotage and attacks and urged the federal government to procure biometric equipment to capture all inmates in custodial centres and link them with the national data sources such as the National Identity Number and BVN to enable tracking and re-arresting fleeing inmates.
According to the spokesperson of Nigeria Correctional Service, Francis Enobore, a total of 3, 459 inmates are still at large. Recall that 1, 691 prisoners escaped during last year’s #EndSARS protest from Edo and Ondo prisons and they are yet to be recaptured. This is addition to 1, 768 escapees from Owerri custodial centre this April, putting the total of escaped inmates at 3,459.