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Insecurity: Nigeria captures biometrics of all prisoners as 3000 escapees remain missing – Premium Times

Prison used to illustrate the story. [PHOTO CREDIT: Vanguard]
In a bid to ensure national security and adequate profiling of prison inmates, the Nigerian government has captured the biometric data of all inmates in Nigerian correctional centres, an official has said.
Rauf Aregbsola, the interior minister, disclosed this in Abuja Thursday during a media briefing organised by the Presidential Media Team at the State House.
Mr Aregbesola said the biometric capture was done before the latest case of a prison break in the country and that it would help in the re-arrest of the fleeing inmates.
“I will like to inform Nigerians that we have captured the biometric information of all inmates in the facilities of NCoS, working in partnership with the Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
“Therefore, we have the capacity and are tracking all escapees from our facilities. In addition, we are working with and have shared the details of escapees with INTERPOL, to check the risks of cross border movements,” the minister revealed.
He said about 3,000 inmates who escaped from various prisons in the past year are still at large.
He said 4,860 inmates escaped from various custodial centres from 2020 till date, and out of this, 984 have been recaptured.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how at least four prisons were attacked in the past year leading to the release of the inmates.
The most recent is that of Abolongo Custodial Centre in Oyo State where unidentified gunmen freed hundreds of inmates.
The jailbreak came about a month after a similar incident happened at the Kabba correctional centre in Kogi State. Two security personnel were killed in the process while hundreds of inmates escaped.
Six months earlier, a total of 1,844 prisoners were freed when gunmen suspected to be members of the outlawed Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) attacked another correctional facility in Owerri, Imo State.
At least 2,051 inmates escaped after earlier jailbreaks in Edo and Ondo states while some of the inmates voluntarily returned and turned themselves in.
At least a dozen of security agents in charge of the facilities were killed during the attacks.
Mr Aregbesola said the attacks on correctional facilities reflects the current security challenge Nigeria is facing.
He assured Nigerians that a ministerial task force will soon be inaugurated to enforce the re-arrest of all escapees and their collaborators.
“The federal government will pursue not just those who attacked our facility, but those who have escaped lawful custody,” he said.
The minister also spoke of the government’s efforts to reform prisoners.

“There are various ongoing reformation and education programmes for inmates in our custodial facilities,” he said. “The Service, in partnership with the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), has increased the number of Study Centers to 10 across Correctional formations (Abeokuta, Anambra, Enugu, Kaduna, Keffi, Kuje, Lafia, Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Umuahia).
“There are currently about 465 inmates running various Degree programmes, 85 of the inmates are running Post – Graduate Degree programs, while four are running PhD programmes within the custodial facilities.
“A total of 560 inmates have been enrolled for WAEC/NECO Examinations, and 2,300 for Adult Literacy Classes in several Custodial Centers. Additional Borstal Training Institutions for young offenders, male and female, are to be established in each State of the Federation,” Mr Aregbesola stated.
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Nasir Ayitogo is a graduate of Theatre and Media Arts from Nasarawa State University, Keffi, where he also obtained a Masters’s degree in Public Relations and Advertising. Twitter: @nastogo

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