By Segun Ade
Nigeria’s Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola, has ordered prison guards to “shoot to kill” anyone involved in jailbreaks.
Aregbesola gave the order, while addressing senior officers at the Agodi Custodial Centre, Ibadan, on Monday.
He said that anyone who attempts to breach security “must not live to tell the tale,” stressing that the order was to curtail frequent jailbreaks in Nigeria.
He lamented that about two thirds of the 1,001 inmates were awaiting trial – in a facility designed to hold 400 prisoners.
But, despite the overcrowding, the minister said that the officers must make it impossible for anyone to penetrate prisons.
“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,” he ordered.
Over the past year armed groups have attacked various prisons, enabling more than 5,000 inmates to escape.
A number of prison guards and detainees has also been killed.
Jailbreaks are common in Nigeria as it continues to struggle with multiple security crises from kidnapping syndicates to an Islamist insurgency in the north-east.
Recall that in April last year, more than 1,800 inmates were freed by gunmen who ambushed Owerri police headquarters, in South-East Nigeria.
In September, 240 prisoners escaped after unidentified gunmen attacked a facility in Kogi State.