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Published On: Tue, Nov 4th, 2014

Gunmen free 144 inmates, kill one in Kogi prison

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From Adama Omale, Lokoja

No fewer than 144 inmates of the Koton-Karfe Prison, in Kogi state, have been set free by gunmen, who invaded the prison yesterday. One of the prisoners, whose identity has yet to be made known, was also killed.

Peoples Daily reliably gathered that the gunmen arrived the area around 9 pm, in four Hilux vehicles and raided the prison for over two hours without confrontation from the security agencies while prison officers on duty were said to have fled, upon learning that the gunmen have invaded the serene community.

The source disclosed that the gunmen on reaching Koton-Karfe town where the prison is located started shooting sporadically before attacking the prison formation, saying that the prison’s Record Office was vandalized before setting the inmates free.

The Controller of the Prisons confirmed the attack.

The recent attack was the second attack on the prison in two years. The first attack was in 2012, where 114 inmates were also set free.

Meanwhile, the Koton-Karfe Prion Comptroller, Omale Ilemona has revealed that out of the 145 prisoners set free by the terrorist group, 12 have willingly returned while one was killed.

According to him, “Around 9:30pm, I received call that the prison is under attack. I call the governor and other securities operatives. But before help could come from sisters agencies, the gunmen have overpowered us, freed all the inmate and escaped”.

The Prison Comptroller General, Aminu Sule, who also confirmed the story said the attack was the work of organized external forces.

He pointed out that the attack was the work of terrorists who forcefully entered the prison, adding that the attack was easy for the terrorists, because the prison’s was overcrowded.

Sule, who appreciated the state governor for his concern, lamented the delay in concluding cases of awaiting trial inmates and urged the Executive to assist the Judiciary to hasten the process of long-awaiting trials.

He stressed that, “Some of these prisoners are not supposed to be here in the first instance. It is saddened that out of the 145 inmates, only 26 of them were convicted”, maintaining that the remaining 119 are awaiting trial.

He, however, expressed confidence that some of the flee inmates will return on their own either to the Koton-Karfe prisons or any other prisons in the country before they are declared wanted.

Also, the state governor, Idris Wada, who was at the prison for an on-the-spot assessment, decried the attack, but frowned at the condition of the prison.

“I must say that the condition of the prison is absolutely not conducive. Though a criminal must be made to face the consequence of his sins, but not in this manner. I will therefore purchase some mattresses and other bedding which I will send to the prison. We will also renovate this place as whatever happened to this place has effect on the state,” he pointed out.

He promised to use his prerogative power to release some of the inmates and also charged the state Chief Judge, Justice Nasiru Ajanah to do same as empowered by the law.

Wada, who later visited the site of the new prison building in the area, appealed to the Federal Government to expedite action towards early completion of the project, in view of its importance to the nation.

 

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