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Another Jail Break, Same Reaction

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1 Another Jail Break, Same Reaction on 4th July 2013, 10:38 am


HOW many prison breaks would it take to secure our prisons? What will happen after the rash of media reactions to the break in Akure, in which 175 criminals were let loose?
Before Akure there have been jail breaks in Ibadan, Warri, Bauchi, Kano, Abuja (at the anti-robbery detention centre), and Port Harcourt. The reactions have always been the same – media talks, promises to address the situation, and forgetfulness until the next criminals free themselves.
A jail break is  one of the highest points of criminality. Its consequences depend on the criminals involved and their motives. What all these point at is that the authorities have failed to realise the importance of securing convicts while they serve their sentences. There is still a high tendency of dismissing the schemes criminals can plot even while in jail. More importantly, the reactions after jail breaks had been to descend on the prison authorities. We are well aware that the prisons are at the lowest rungs for budgetary allocations. The security at prisons reflects that reality.
Security at our prisons is left mostly to warders who are poorly armed and easily over powered. It has happened many times. Furthermore, the extent of the alertness, the number of warders deployed to man these facilities, and the equipment at their disposal make the jail breakers’ job easier.
How could the collaborators of the criminals have succeeded if they did not have insider information, and other possible assistance? How did they know the type of equipment they require to blast the walls? How could they identify the cells where their colleagues were kept? They were obviously aware of the types of arms issued to the warders, and possibly how many of them were on duty.
Armed with such information, the criminals knew what to do. The fact that they could operate for hours without interruption should bother the authorities. Where were the police? What was the reaction of other security agencies that heard the commotion at the prison? If this could happen within the state capital, where all the security agencies have a huge presence that costs billions of Naira to maintain, what could happen to prisons in more remote locations?
When will we improve the security at the prisons? When would modern gadgets that could foil these attacks be installed? When would intelligence be at heights that conniving prison officials can be fished out before they do more harm?
This matter needs to be treated as emergency. Once criminals know they can stroll into any prison and set their colleagues free, Nigeria would be on a free fall into more insecurity. Akure should not be another ignored warning.
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