FG orders purchase of 400 rifles, worth N272m, for prison officers
The rifles, alongside 20,000 rounds of ammunition, will cost the sum of N272 million.
The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, disclosed this to the media after the Federal Executive Council (FEC)meeting on Wednesday, November 14, 2018. He said the rifles, alongside 20,000 rounds of ammunition, will cost the sum of N272 million.
The minister attributed the procurement to the lack of adequate arms and ammunition in the prison service. He made particular reference to the June 2018 jailbreak that happened in Minna, Niger State.
He said, "If you recall, not too long ago, our prison in Minna was attacked from the outside and some of the dangerous prisoners were freed.
"The prison has an armed squad. We realised after an investigation of that attack that one of the major shortcomings within that prison was lack of adequate arms and ammunition."
Over 200 inmates had escaped from the Minna Medium Security Prison when a group of gunmen attacked the prison, located at Tunga area of Minna metropolis, and engaged in a shootout with prison officials on June 3, 2018. A prison official and a motorcyclist were killed during the attack.
Two of the escaped inmates were condemned individuals whose death warrants were due to be signed by state governor, Abubakar Bello, the next day.
According to the last update by the NPS in July, only a total of 51 inmates had been recaptured with the others at large.
FG orders 116 new vans to transport inmates
The government's decision to buy new firearms for prison officers comes just a week after the FEC approved the purchase of 116 new vehicles, at the cost of N1.5 billion, to ease transportation issues in the prison system.
"We are procuring 116 vehicles which will cost N1,584,064,560. You'll agree with me that because of lack of logistics, the vehicles, that has contributed in the past and even now we're still not having enough vehicles that'll be able to take inmates and those awaiting trials to court," Dambazau said.
The vans, popularly called Black Maria, were also renamed to Green Maria so as to, according to Dambazau, reflect the government's initiative to make prisons appear more as rehabilitation centres than places of punishment.
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