119 Nigerian prisoners flee as rain wrecks 'colonial-era’ jail

AFP , Thursday 25 Apr 2024

Nearly 120 inmates escaped from a prison in central Nigeria after torrential rains destroyed the parameter fence, a Nigerian prisons service spokesman said Thursday.

File photo: People walk flooded road after rain in Port Harcourt, southern Nigeria, AFP


An hours-long downpour on Wednesday "wreaked havoc" on the medium security jail in Suleja near Nigeria's capital Abuja, destroying buildings and the parameter fence.

This led to "to the escape of a total of one hundred and nineteen inmates of the facility" in Niger State, Adamu Duza said.

Prison staff along with other security personnel were able to recapture 10 and a manhunt was underway for the rest, he said.

Duza blamed the dilapidated conditions of the "colonial era" Nigerian prisons which "are old and weak". He said authorities were working to replace "all ageing facilities".

The prison authorities appealed to the public to be on the lookout for the fleeing inmates and report to security personnel any suspicious people.

Jailbreaks are common in Nigeria's overcrowded prisons where criminal gangs, separatists and jihadists sometimes blast their way into detention facilities and free their imprisoned comrades.

In the one of the country's most audacious attacks in July 2022, militants broke into Kuje security prison on the outskirts of Abuja with explosives and heavy guns, freeing more than 800 inmates, including more than 60 of their comrades.

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