Defence/Security

Jailbreaks: Reps urge FG to equip prison guards with machine guns

The House of Representatives has asked the federal government to equip officers guarding correctional facilities with General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG), to stem incessant jailbreaks.

The House also asked the government to provide electric fences and CCTV cameras at all the facilities in the country.

These resolutions followed a motion moved by Kazaure Gudaje (APC, Jigawa) on Thursday during plenary.

Mr Gudaje lamented the spate of attacks on correctional facilities across the country by armed men.

This year alone, Nigeria has experienced three major jailbreaks. In April, gunmen attacked Owerri Correctional Centre and freed 1,844 inmates.

Similarly, in September, 114 inmates escaped from Kabba Correctional Centre in Kogi State, while 837 inmates were freed from Abolongo Correctional Centre in Oyo Town, Oyo State following an attack.

In 2020, at least 2,051 inmates escaped after the jailbreaks in Edo and Ondo States while some of the inmates escaped during the EndSARS protests.

Speaking on the motion, Mr Gudaje said often correctional officers carry AK47 the same type of weapon used by the jailbreaker. He noted that providing superior weapons for officers will tilt the battle to their side.

Mr Gudaje harped on the need to keep convicted prisoners behind bars.

“Correctional Centres are where convicted criminals are kept to make the society safe, thus it is dangerous for such convicts to be let loose,” he said.

He also asked the House to “urge the federal government to take over the payment of electricity bills of the Correctional Centres in Nigeria or exempt the Centres from paying electricity bills;

He urged the House to mandate the Committee on Appropriations to include the rehabilitation and upgrade of the Correctional Centres in the 2022 budget estimates.

The motion was carried when the motion was put to vote by the presiding officer, Idris Wase (APC, Plateau).

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