With the rising trend of jailbreaks occuring across the country, Rauf Aregbesola, Interior Minister, has directed prison officers to henceforth kill any attacker coming to free inmates.
In a statement through his media aide, Sola Fasure, the minister also charged prisons officers to protect the integrity of correctional facilities by using maximum force to deter any form of attack.
He gave the order while inspecting the Agodi Custodial Centre, Ibadan, Oyo state, where some inmates recently escaped during a jailbreak.
Describing attacks on correctional centres is an attack on the Nigerian state, Mr Aregbesola ordered them to make it impossible for anyone to gain access to the detention facility.
“The most important thing is the impregnability of this facility,” he said. “Make this facility impregnable.
“It is a red zone; a dangerous zone. Whoever attempts to breach the security here is already dead. He must not live to tell the story. Other people will tell his or her story.
“Any effort to breach our facility is not acceptable. Don’t shoot to injure, shoot to kill. Don’t shoot to disable, shoot to kill.
“This facility is a total embodiment of the authority of the Nigerian state to guarantee the security of the people.”
He added that efforts were on top gear to decongest correctional centres in the country.
“There are inmates who are there because of their inability to pay their fines. We are compiling the list of such inmates and I will use the status of my office to appeal to willing and able Nigerians to raise the fines to free them,” he said.
“There are other inmates who are have spent far beyond the limits of their sentences. The total number of convicts at Agodi is less than 400 and we have 1001 inmates there. It means about two-thirds of the inmates are awaiting trial.
“If somebody who should be jailed for a maximum of one year is being kept for four years or more, then we are violating their rights.
“Also, to feed these inmates is expensive. The cost to the government is very high.
“Less than 15 percent of them are federal offenders. Majority of them are state offenders. For that reason, we need the cooperation of the state government under whose jurisdiction three-quarters of our inmates are, to accelerate their trials, conclude the cases and have them spend the years they should spend there or get them out.
“They should also activate their own prerogative of mercy committee to decongest the facilities. It is when the facilities are decongested that lives can be restored to them. When you have congestion, several other factors will come in.”
The minister vowed to get the escapees wether dead or alive.
“They have to live under the earth to escape our surveillance system. They can only run, but they cannot hide. I am assuring you that we are on their trail and I can assure you that we will pursue them to the end of the earth.”