© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Gunmen attack Minna prison, free many, kill two
A jailbreak has taken place at the Minna Medium Security prison, Niger State, after unknown armed men attacked the facility, killing two persons and freeing many inmates.
Rabiu Shuaibu, spokesperson of the prison confirmed the incident in a statement he issued on Monday morning.
Shuaibu said the attack took place at about 8 pm on Sunday but the number of escapees is yet to be ascertained.
On Sunday, 3rd June, at about 8pm, there was a jailbreak at Minna Medium Security Prison located at Tunga area of Minna Metropolis, Shuaibu stated.
“The unfortunate incident was perpetrated by armed criminals who attacked the prison and gained access after the exchange of fire with prison armed men.
“So far, through combined effort of all security agencies in the state, 7 prisoners who attempted to escape have been recaptured and returned to the prison.
“The prison authority in Minna is profiling the number of fleeing inmates to ascertain the escaped prisoners.”
The two people that lost their lives in the incident were a prison officer and a commercial motorcycle operator who conveyed a prison officer on night duty.
Shuaibu said normalcy has since returned to the prison facility, and that other security agencies are working together with prison officials to ensure that fleeing inmates are recaptured.
He urged citizens to go about their normal businesses, but to also be alert and report any suspicious person or group of persons to security authorities.
However, in a interview later on Monday, Dibal Yakadi, Niger State Commissioner of Police, confirmed to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that a total of 219 prisoners escaped during the jailbreak, out of which only 19 has been recaptured.
In December 2014, there was a jailbreak in the Minna prison which saw about 275 prisoners escape from custody.
The incident led to the suspension of the then Comptroller of Prisons in Niger state, Musa Maiyaki; the officer-in-charge of the Minna Prison, Mohammed Bena, among others, by Abba Moro, then Minister of Interior.
In 2016, there was at least three attempted jailbreaks in Nigeria at the Nsukka, Kogi and Abakiliki prisons respectively. But the one in Abakiliki was not successful as prison officials, supported by policemen and soldiers, managed to ensure none of the prisoners escaped.
Another reported jailbreak attempt at the Kuje prison in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was later confirmed to be just a riot by the inmates.
About 23 prison officials were later sacked by the federal government for alleged complicity in some of the jailbreaks.