Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, has disclosed that two of the 219 inmates that escaped from Minna Medium Security Prison were due to have their death warrants signed by the state government.
The inmates escaped when a group of gunmen attacked the prison, located at Tunga area of Minna metropolis, and engaged in a shootout with prison officials. A prison official and a motorcyclist were killed in the attack that occurred on Sunday, June 3, 2018.
During his visit to the prison on Monday, June 4, Dambazau revealed that two of the escaped inmates were condemned individuals whose death warrants were due to be signed by state governor, Abubakar Bello, on Monday.
He said, "Among the escapees were two condemned criminals whose death warrants were supposed to have been signed by the governor of Niger State today. That is probably part of the motivation for this prison break."
He also disclosed that 182 of the prisoners that escaped are still at large as authorities deploy everything at their disposal to re-arrest them.
A resident told The Punch that some of the prisoners that escaped during the incident came back on their own because most of them have almost concluded their prison terms and were trying to avoid having their sentences extended because of the escape.
The Nigerian Prisons Service has declined to disclose how the attackers gained access into the prison but Comptroller General, Ja'afaru Ahmed, has dismissed reports that the attack was staged to rescue Boko Haram inmates.
"There is no Boko Haram suspect in the Minna prison facility. We do not know who attacked the prison yet but investigations will reveal it," he said.
Dambazau also said that a committee had been set up to investigate the incident while noting that there are significant security gaps that need to be plugged to prevent a recurrence.