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Jailbreaks: Senate summons Aregbesola, Malami, Nababa

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Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

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The Senate on Tuesday, summoned the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; and the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa, over the recurring incidents of jailbreaks in different parts of the country.

The lawmakers at the plenary also asked the Committee on Interior to carry out a full scale investigation into the causes of jailbreaks in some correctional centres across the country.

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The two ministers and DG of NCS are expected to give account the status of correctional centres nationwide, with a view to finding out the challenges in order to prevent future jailbreaks.

The motion that led to the resolution was titled ‘Terror Attacks on two Communities in Plateau North and Jail Break at the Jos Medium Security Correctional Centre Jos’ by Senator Istifanus Gyang.

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He said the attacks caused by a security breach of the Jos Medium Security Correctional Centre was a setback to the relative and much desired peace in Plateau North.

He disclosed that nine inmates, including an officer identified as Umar A. Mohammed, were also killed, while 252 inmates escaped during the jailbreak, adding that among the inmates at large, six were fatally injured, 10 of the escapees re-arrested, 63 sentenced to death, 27 convicted and 181 awaiting trials.

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Gyang said that the invaders responsible for the jailbreak “walked through a security zone and broke through to have over 200 inmates escape from the centre”.

Contributing, Senator Ahmad Babba Kaita blamed the spate of insecurity in Nigeria on the inadequate number of personnel across the various security agencies in the country.

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He, therefore, called on the National Assembly to rise to the occasion by appropriating more funds to security agencies to enable them undertake recruitment of more personnel.

The Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who presided over plenary, described the security breaches at correctional facilities as a “serious issue” that must be looked into.

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Omo-Agege also canvassed for more funding to the office of the National Security Adviser to facilitate intelligence gathering.

He said: “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.

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“But in the interim, it is clear that we have a serious intelligence gathering gap, there’s no debate about that.

“I think the Department of State Services (DSS) and most especially 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.

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“I’ve always taken the position that the office of the NSA, most especially, has been underfunded.

“He is supposed to be the one coordinating intelligence gathering and providing such intelligence to the other agencies for them to give requisite protection.

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“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.”

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Accordingly, the Senate in its resolutions called for a reinforcement of physical protection system and mechanism at correctional centres across the nation by the Ministry of Interior to forestall further attempts at jailbreaks.

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