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Jailbreak: We won’t allow repeat of Suleja incident, FG vows

The Federal Government has said it will not allow the fate which befell its Medium Security Custodial Centre in Suleja on April 24 to befall any of its 256 Custodial Centres across the country, saying it is rehabilitating the centres accordingly.

On April 24, rainfall destroyed the walls of the Suleja Custodial Centre and led to the escape of 118 inmates, some of who are still at large.

At the time, the Federal government was already reconstructing parts of the wall, but the heavy rains pulled down a section that had not yet been rehabilitated.

Speaking after inspecting the ongoing 3,000-capacity Custodial Centre in Karshi, Abuja as well as the old and new custodial centres in Keffi, Nasarawa state, Interior minister, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo also restated his resolve to ensure the relocation of some custodial facilities facing the challenge of urbanization.

At the New Medium Security Custodial Centre in Keffi, Dr Tunji-Ojo said a total of 750 inmates were being held in the facility, with a capacity for 340 inmates. Of the 750 inmates, a total of 605 of them were awaiting trial.

He said; “Our correctional centres, as we said, have changed from prisons to the Correctional Service. And obviously, it means that there has to be a paradigm shift in ideology, from a place of incarceration to a place of transformation, a place of reformation, and a place of correction.

“We were earlier at Karshi to look at the work that is going on there with regards to the 3000 capacity Custodial Centre. Of course, we have one or two observations, which I will not like to share in front of the cameras.

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“When we get back to the office, then we will sit down as the ministry and the NCoS come together to brainstorm solutions to some of the issues we realized.

“Here in Keffi, the custodial centres are highly populated, and the number of inmates is quite high. We have in Keffi alone, two correctional centres, Keffi new and Keffi old; we have over 1000. That is a huge number – almost 1500.

“We came to look at it, and of course, you know a lot of inmates from FCT get here. We have come to look, and we saw the perimeter fencing because, as we have always said, we do not want a repeat of what happened in Suleja”.

According to him, part of the measures is to erect concrete perimeter fence around the facilities.

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