Thursday, December 8, 2022

REVIEW: Top 20 deadliest jailbreaks, prison attacks in Nigeria

You probably remember Owerri because it happened barely last week. But do you know what happened in Koton-Karfe in 2014? See our limited compilation.

• April 11, 2021
Photo from incident scene (Credit: Twitter)
Photo from incident scene (Credit: Twitter)

Last week, an unknown group of violent criminals breached a medium-security prison in Owerri, freeing 1,844 inmates. The Nigerian Correctional Service said no one was killed during the attack, but nonetheless recognised it as a serious threat to national security. 

After learning that dynamite and other explosives were used, President Muhammadu Buhari described the jailbreak as a terrorist attack and ordered a violent crackdown on suspected members of separatist IPOB, which has denied responsibility.

President-Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari (Photo Credit – Garba Shehu facebook page)

Nigerian jailbreaks and attacks on prison officials may have become a pastime for criminals and enemies of Africa’s most populous nation.

Often overcrowded, Nigerian prisons are notorious for corruption and inhumane treatment of inmates.  

Recent uprisings in various prisons across the country have had at least 45 inmates killed. The death toll could be higher than that as government officials often play down the figures of casualty.

At least 3,600 inmates have escaped from different prisons between 2007 and 2021 with the aid of Boko Haram terrorists, among other criminal elements in the country. There are no official reports of rearrested inmates.

You probably remember Owerri because it happened barely last week. But do you know what happened in Koton-Karfe in 2014? See our limited compilation.
Boko Haram Leader, Abubakar Shekau

Nigerian prison authorities have, over the years, failed to put out public notices of inmates on the run, not even their mugshots on the NCoS official website, putting millions of lives in danger.

With abject and archaic record-keeping, prisons’ administrative blocks are sometimes targetted in jailbreaks.

According to the national prison administration, the total population of inmates, including “pre-trial detainees and remand prisoners” in the 240 establishments, is 67,631.

Nigeria’s prisons official capacity is put at 50,153, which shows that the occupancy level based on official capacity is 146.8 per cent, the agency revealed in July 2018.

According to reports, over 50,000 of the country’s prison inmates were awaiting trial.

By no means exhaustive, People Gazette compiled a list of jailbreaks and prison attacks in Nigeria.

• Agodi prison: A riot triggered by inmates at the Minimum Security Prison in Ibadan on September 11, 2007, resulted in the killing of eight inmates in an attempt to escape.

• Bauchi: On September 7, 2010, gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram terrorists attacked the prison in Bauchi, opening the door for 721 inmates to escape with five killed and six injured.

• Yobe: Gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram insurgents, on June 2, 2012, attacked the Damaturu prison freeing 40 inmates.

• Ondo: On June 30, 2013, 50 gunmen attacked the Medium Security Prison in Akure and let loose 175 prisoners. Two persons got killed in the attack.

• Ogun: 20 inmates reportedly escaped from Shagamu Minimum Prison on January 4, 2013.

• Kogi: Various media reports fingered Boko Haram terrorists as the brains behind the Koton-Karfe prison attack on November 2, 2014, freeing 144 prisoners. One died in the incident. The facility was attacked again in October 2019, during which about 230 inmates reportedly fled.

• Ekiti: On November 30, 2014, a prison was attacked at Ado-Ekiti by gunmen with 341 prisoners escaping.

• Niger: On December 6, 2014, gunmen attacked a prison in Minna, reportedly releasing 270 inmates.

• Lagos: On October 10, 2014, a jailbreak occurred at Kikikiri Medium Prison. Twenty prisoners lost their lives while 80 were injured. Twelve inmates escaped from the facility.

• Niger: Gunmen attacked a medium prison in Minna, Niger state capital and broke out over 200 inmates on June 3, 2018.

• Edo: On August 19, 2012, a maximum prison witnessed an uprising by “condemned” prisoners. The attempted jailbreak failed, leaving eight persons killed.

• Edo: On October 19, 2020, during the #EndSARS protests, hoodlums freed inmates at Oko prison in Benin.

• Lagos: Prison officials foiled an attempted jailbreak of the Ikoyi prisons on October 22, 2020.

• Ondo: On October 22, 2020, at Okitipupa, 58 inmates were freed by hoodlums.

•  Zaria: In May 2011, rioters invaded the city’s jail and freed an unspecified number of inmates during the post-election violence. The rioters razed the prison vehicles and the administrative building.

•  Rivers: On October 27, 2012, six inmates were killed at the Ahoada prison during an attempted jailbreak.

•  Delta: On October 22, a prison official killed as soldiers foiled an attempted jailbreak in Warri.

•  Anambra: On March 18, 2021, unknown gunmen killed two prison officials while conveying inmates to court.

•  Plateau: On July 23, 2020, gunmen attacked a convoy of the correctional service and freed six inmates on a High Court premises in Barkin LGA.

•  Imo: Gunmen attacked an Imo prison on April 4 and freed 1,844 inmates. Thirty-five of them stayed back; six returned to the facility according to the NCoS.

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