Between July 27, 2009 when Boko Haram terrorists first attacked the Maiduguri Prisons and freed 482 inmates and October 29, 2014 when another set of 366 inmates were following the overrun of Mubi, the second largest town in Adamawa State, a total 2,255 prison inmates have been freed from various prisons across the country in 14 different attacks.
Of this frightening number however, 194 of the escapee inmates have so far been re-arrested.
Some of the jailbreaks recorded in the hands of Boko Haram include that of Bauchi Prisons in September 2010, when 489 inmates were released, Damaturu Prison attack on 24 June 2012 where 41 inmates were released, Maiduguri Farm Centre, where 79 inmates were released, Gwoza Prisons where 118 prisoners were freed, Bama Prison where 105 prisoners were freed and Ganye Prisons in Adamawa on 22 March , 2013 where 134 prisoners were released.
Chief Superintendent of Prisons and Spokesperson for the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS), Mr. Ope Fatimokun gave the figures in Abuja, Wednesday, at the Forum of Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA)/I-Nigerian Initiative media interaction in Abuja
“A total of 46 prison officers comprising forty two serving and four retired personnel have been killed since the beginning of the insurgency”.
Fatimokun who identified inadequate budgetary allocation, prison congestion, inadequate staffing, poor logistics, insurgency and terrorism as some of the challenges facing the Service said as at June this year, 56,785 inmates made up of 18,042 convicted and 38,743 awaiting trial persons were dwelling inside the 239 prisons located in different parts of the country.
Among them, 947 of these were young male offenders, 151 foreigners, 10 babies and 1,439 have been sentenced to die.
Fanimokun observed that congestion of prisons is caused by a number of factors including inadequate operational vehicles like the case in Lagos and Kaduna with over 200 and 194 courts respectively but where the NPS has only 20 and 10 vehicles to convey hundreds of inmates to courts for trials.
He also canvassed for the provision of heavy arms and ammunition for the service including helicopters and armoured personnel carriers for it to be able to respond to incessant attacks on prison formations and personnel.