The location of prisons in residential areas is partly to blame for the increasing rate of jailbreaks in recent times in the country, the Nigerian Prisons Service has said.
According to the NPS, the location of prisons within towns and other residential areas makes the facilities prone to unrestricted access.
An official of the NPS, Patrick Ani, who represented the service at a stakeholders meeting put together by the National Human Rights Commission, said this in Abuja on Monday.
Ani, while commenting on the growing congestion and insecurity in prisons, said measures aimed at addressing the problem of incessant jailbreak should take into consideration the location of prisons.
“When prisons are located within towns or cities, inmates are bound to have frequent and unwarranted visitors, who can infiltrate the prisons with substances that could aid jailbreaks”, he said.
The NHRC’s Executive Secretary, Prof. Bem Angwe, decried the recurring incidents of attacks on prisons and the attendant implications on national security and citizens’ confidence in justice administration.
Angwe also warned that the incessant strike by court workers was capable of eroding the people’s confidence in the judicial process.
He said the meeting was part of the NHRC’s consultation with stakeholders with a view to finding solutions to national challenges.
“The outcome of the consultation will be to convene a summit where relevant stakeholders will brainstorm and agree on concrete measures that must be undertaken to address the issue of security”, he said.
Former Ekiti State Attorney General, who is also a member of the NHRC Governing Council, Olawale Fapohunda, said the planned summit would address ways of reversing the current infrastructural decay in the prisons; inadequacies of the legal framework, with negative impact on the prisons; institutional reform of the prison and condition of service of prison officers, among others.
Fapohunda also said the problem of prison congestion remained crucial and must be properly addressed.