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Gunmen attack Kogi Prison, set 145 inmates free

By The Citizen
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Suspected terrorists on Sunday night attacked the Koton-Karfe Minimum Prison in Kogi State setting free all 145 inmates in the four cells.

It was said that the terrorists, suspected to be members of Boko Haram sect, were said to have arrived the prison around 9p.m., in four Hilux vehicles, raided the prison for more than two hours unchallenged, freed the inmates and vandalized the record office.

The Prison Comptroller General, Aminu Suley, who confirmed the story when Governor Idris Wada, and his deputy, Mr. Yomi Awoniyi, visited the prison, said the attack was the handiwork of organized external forces.

The Koton-Karfe Comptroller, Omale Ilemona, who gave insight into the attack, said out of the 145 prisoners set free by the terrorist group,12 had freely returned, while one was killed.

'Around 9:30p.m., I received a call that the prison is under attack. I called the governor and securities operatives.

'But before help could come from sister agencies, the gunmen had overpowered us, freed all the inmates and escaped,' he said.

Suley affirmed that the attack was the handiwork of terrorists, who forcefully entered the prison, adding that the attack was possible because the prison was overcrowded.

'Some of these prisoners are not supposed to be here in the first instance. It is saddening that out of the 145 inmates, only 26 of them are convicted. The remaining 119 are awaiting trials,' Suley stated.

Suley was, however, optimistic that some of the inmates would return on their own, either to the Koton-Karfe prisons or any other prisons in the country, to avoid being declared wanted.

In his response, Governor Wada decried the attack of the terrorists and also frowned at the condition of the prison, which he described as an apology.

'I must say that the condition of the prison is absolutely not conducive. Though a criminal must be made to face the consequence of his sins, but not in this manner.

'I will, therefore, purchase some mattresses and other bedding and send to the prison. We will also renovate this place as whatever happened to this place has effect on the state,' the governor stated.

He also promised to use his prerogative of power to release some of the inmates, also charged the Chief Judge of the state to do same as empowered by law.

Wada also said he convened an emergency security meeting by 8a.m., yesterday, to look into the issue but urged the citizenry of the state to go on with their lawful business, assuring them of their safety and security.

The governor later visited the site of the new prison building in the same town and urged the Federal Government to expedite action towards the quick completion of the prison.