The Minister of Interior, Mr Abba Moro, has ordered the contractor handling the new Koton-Karfe medium prison in Kogi to complete the facility within two weeks or risk sanctions.
Moro gave the order on Tuesday in Koton-karfe while assessing the level of damage done to the old facility by gunmen who attacked the prison on Sunday night.
Gunmen armed with grenades attacked the prison on Sunday night, freeing 144 inmates, out of whom 15 had returned, while one died in the process.
The minister condemned the attack and said that the Federal Government had ordered that security be beefed up around the facility and other prisons across the country to forestall a recurrence of such act.
He said “the attack on that prison is most unfortunate, particularly that it came on the heels of a previous attack on the prisons.
“We have gone there and we saw what happened and the attack virtually took the same pattern — use of explosives to break the walls of the prison.
“What we have done now is to ensure that we step up our security and also encourage prison warders, the police and soldiers to continue to increase their level of security and surveillance around the prisons.’’
He described the Koton-Karfe prison as obsolete, saying that was what informed the construction of the new prison which was nearing completion.
Moro, who also took an assessment tour of the new prison which was few kilometres away from the old one, expressed optimism that the new prison, when completed, would forestall such jail breaks.
He said most of the inmates of the old prison would be moved to the new prison to decongest the facility and ensure maximum security in line international best practice.
The minister said “I have directed that given the level of work that has been carried out here already and given the circumstances in which we found ourselves, I have given an ultimatum of two weeks within which the contract for this new medium prison should be completed.
“And the contractors have given assurance to abide by the ultimatum.’’
Moro assured that appropriate authorities were working hard to re-arrest the 144 prison inmates who were freed and commended the 15 that returned to the prison.
“For these criminals to escape, it adds to the level of insecurity in the country. On our own part, we cannot allow them to perpetrate evil in the society.
“We are working in partnership with other security agencies and the community to ensure that they are re-arrested and brought to book,” he said.
He said that the ministry was doing a lot to decongest prisons across the country.
He also stated that the ministry was working with appropriate authorities, especially the Ministry of Justice, to ensure that those awaiting trails were not unnecessarily kept in prison.
The new Koton-Karfe Prison is designed to accommodate 80 inmates in line with international standards, although the minister said the facility can be subjected to further expansion.