The Nigerian Senate has summoned the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa, over recent jailbreaks across the country.
The officials are to appear before the lawmakers for a briefing on the status of correctional centres nationwide and efforts to prevent future recurrence.
No date has been fixed for the officials to appear.
The Senate also mandated its committee on interior to carry out an investigation into the causes of jailbreaks across the country.
These were part of the resolutions adopted by the lawmakers after the deliberation on a motion titled, “Terror attacks on two communities in Plateau North and jailbreak at the Jos Medium Security Correctional Centre, Jos” on Tuesday.
The motion was sponsored by Istifanus Gyang during the plenary.
Mr Gyang, a Plateau senator, referred to attacks on some communities in the state and Sunday’s jailbreak in the state capital, Jos.
About nine inmates and an officer identified as Umar Mohammed were killed, while 252 inmates escaped during the jailbreak.
The spokesman of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Francis Enobore, had said the attackers stormed the facility “in large numbers with sophisticated weapons” at about 5:20 p.m. and engaged security operatives in a gun duel.
Sunday’s incident was the latest in Nigeria. Similar jailbreaks have been recorded in Kogi, Oyo Edo and Imo State.
In his motion, Mr Gyang said two communities in Bassa and Jos East local governments were attacked over the weekend, leading to the death of over ten people.
According to the lawmaker, the attacks, caused by a security breach of the Jos Medium Security Correctional Centre, was a setback to the much-desired peace in Plateau North.
He said six of the inmates were injured, 10 of the escapees re-arrested, 63 had been sentenced to death, 27 had been convicted for other offences and 181 were awaiting trials.
He added that wardens who put up a fight against the invaders were overwhelmed during the gun battle.
On his part, Babba Kaita (APC, Katsina North) blamed insecurity in the country on the inadequate number of personnel across the various security agencies in the country.
He asked the National Assembly to rise to the occasion by appropriating more funds to security agencies to enable them to undertake the recruitment of more personnel.
In his remark, the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi North), attributed the recent jailbreaks to Nigeria’s “porous prisons system.”
He lamented that jailbreaks have become a recurring decimal which in recent times have exposed the lives of Nigerians to harm, as escapee prisoners may try to avenge their conviction.
The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, who presided over plenary, described the security breaches at correctional facilities as a “serious issue” that must be looked into.
Like his colleague, he called for more funding to the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to facilitate intelligence gathering.
“Having given all the requisite funding to the security agencies, why are we still having these challenges? I think it is something we need to sleep over. But in the interim, it is clear that we have a serious intelligence gathering gap, there’s no debate about that.
“I think the DSS and the office of the NSA, have not been given the kind of funding that is required for this fight, because they are the ones that are in charge of intelligence gathering. I’ve always taken the position that the office of the NSA, most especially, has been underfunded.”
The lawmaker said the NSA’s office should be responsible for coordinating all the security agencies.
“If the office of the NSA is not properly funded, then, of course, it means that we are all in trouble.
“I think this is something that we must appeal to Mr President, and even here in the leadership of the National Assembly, to look into for additional funding for the office of the NSA and, possibly, that of the DSS before the budget is finally tabled for consideration.”
The Senate, thereafter, called for a reinforcement of the security at correctional centres across the nation to forestall further attempts at jailbreaks.
The Senate also commended the Judiciary for the recent ruling of the Federal High Court declaring all bandits and insurgents as terrorists.
A minute silence was also observed for victims of the Plateau violence and those who lost their lives during the attack on the Jos Correctional Centre.
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