Nigeria’s N567 Billion Budget In Six Years to Correctional Service Unable to Stop Escape of Over 6000 Prisoners 

Despite receiving billions in budgetary allocations over the past five years and of the present 2024, the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) continues to grapple with persistent jailbreaks, raising serious questions about the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations.

Recently, Nigeria has been battling with a trend of persistent jailbreaks in its correctional centres, posing challenges to law enforcement and public safety efforts.

WikkiTimes reports that from October 28, 2019, to April 25, 2024, no less than 6,356 inmates escaped from Nigerian Correctional Service Centres in a series of 13 successful jailbreaks.

These incidents have raised serious concerns about the effectiveness of security measures within the country’s prison system and also highlighted the need for reforms.

TIMELINE: Over 6,000 Inmates Escaped Nigeria’s Correctional Centres in Five Years

With high-profile inmates escaping and returning to society, often with grave implications for public security, addressing the root causes behind these jailbreaks has become a pressing priority for authorities.

The budgetary breakdown reveals that N567.41 billion was allocated to the Correctional Service over the past six years, with personnel costs taking 60% (339.3 bn), Overhead costs getting 24% (N137.08 bn) and capital taking 16% (N91.02 bn) of the total amount.

Despite these substantial allocations, the Correctional Service has failed to curb jailbreak incidents, which have become alarmingly frequent across the nation. These jailbreaks not only pose a significant threat to public safety but also expose deep-rooted issues within the Nigerian Correctional system.

In recent years, several high-profile jailbreaks have highlighted the inadequacies of the Correctional Service in maintaining secure facilities and preventing escapes. These incidents often result in the escape of dangerous criminals, leading to heightened insecurity and undermining public trust in the criminal justice system.

The persistent failure to address these challenges despite substantial financial investments raises concerns about the management and utilization of funds within the Correctional Service. It also underscores the urgent need for comprehensive reforms to address systemic weaknesses and enhance the capacity of the Correctional Service to fulfil its mandate effectively.

Suleja Prison Break: NGO Urges Decongestion of Custodial Centres

Government officials have come under scrutiny for the apparent mismanagement of funds allocated to the Correctional Service, with calls for greater transparency and accountability in budgetary allocations and expenditures.

In response to mounting pressure, authorities have pledged to undertake a thorough review of the Correctional Service’s operations and implement measures to strengthen security and prevent future jailbreaks. However, experts say concrete action and meaningful reforms will be necessary to restore public confidence in the Correctional Service and ensure the safety and security of citizens.

Observers lament the absence of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) devices at centres, especially the Kuje Prison in Abuja.

Despite the presence of a platoon from the Nigerian Army, the Police Force, NSCDC officers, and armed Correctional Service personnel, the defence was ineffective.

The Nongovernmental Organisations NGOs also have been urging the Federal Government to speed up the decongestion of custodial centres nationwide.

Nigeria’s correctional centres are characterised by congestion mostly as a result of delays in case proceedings and proper maintenance of the facilities.

Despite this, the federal government is allocating fewer percental to the capital projects for the correctional service making problems in the infrastructural sector in the service always deteriorating.

The frequency of jailbreaks also underscores the inefficiency of Nigeria’s security structure and the appointed officials’ credibility, in addition to providing more questions on the transparency in the implementation of the funds budgeted for Nigeria’s internal security.

Experts noted that the dire implications of these escapes are serious, as criminals return to society, posing a threat to public safety. These individuals will continue to operate conspiratorially without swift action, perpetuating more crimes.

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