The federal government has ordered the contractor handling the construction work on the Koton-Karfe Medium Prison in Kogi State to immediately return to site and ensure completion of the facility in two weeks or risk termination of the contract.
The minister of interior, Comrade Abba Moro, who gave the order yesterday while assessing the level of damage done to the facility following another jailbreak recorded by the Kogi Prison on Sunday night, blamed the incident on poor security network.
The ultimatum is coming 32 months after the federal government warned controllers of Nigerian prisons in the states to shape up or get fired, sequel to an attack on the Koton-Karfe Prison on February 15, 2012, which led to the escape of all the inmates with at least 73 yet to be re-arrested.
Moro who took journalists round the medium prison which is presently under construction, said “the prison, when completed in two weeks will effectively house criminals”. He praised 15 escapees for willingly returning to the prison, assuring them of speedy justice delivery.
He noted that the prison does not have the authority to release prisoners but he is working assiduously with the appropriate justice authorities to ensure that people awaiting trial do not stay in the prison for longer than necessary.
“We know that some of you were imprisoned under circumstances that were not too clear.. We will ensure that justice prevails. By not escaping, you have proven to Nigerians that you are not criminals”, he said.
“For these criminals to escape adds to the level of insecurity in the country. On our own part, we cannot allow them to perpetrate evil in the society. We are working in partnership with other security agencies and the community to ensure that they are re-arrested and brought to book”.
It would be recalled that the federal government had on February 21, 2012 through the minister of interior , lashed at Controllers of Prisons for failing to fulfill their responsibility.Moro, who summoned them to a meeting in Abuja then, said, ‘ If gunmen attack and release all the inmates in a prison, it means you are not justifying that mandate.
“I don’t want you to die, but you should be ready to die to fulfil that responsibility. I want to enjoin you to rise up to the situation. From now on, all command officers will be held accountable and sanctioned if there is any further breach or escape from prisons. If you can’t do the work, I will be happy to receive your resignation.”