Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has declared a state of emergency on Abakaliki Prisons.
He made the declaration on Thursday evening when he visited the prisons after a botched jailbreak by the inmates . Umahi had just returned from Port Harcourt, Rivers State where he attended the Peoples Democratic Party national convention when he decided to visit the prisons.
The governor, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secreatary, Emma Anya said, “Early in the morning(Thursday), I was told of attempted jailbreak by inmates of Abakaliki Prisons. The Commissioner of Police (Peace Ibekwe-Abdallah) reported the incident to me and did promise that they (police) were re-inforcing. She told me she had contacted all the security chiefs in the state. They successfully prevented the inmates from escaping.
“Luckily, I am told that the prisoners are not complaining of any maltreatment and malnutrition. I was told that those who attempted the escape are those awaiting trial. I was told that there are so many of them awaiting trial. This is not good for us.”
Umahi directed the state Director of Prisons, Adaobi Oputa, to compile such cases and send to him to enable him put head together with the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Aloy Nwankwo, to fast-track justice.
He decried the level of infrastructure decay in the Abakiliki Prisons, saying such was not good for the inmates. Noting that the structures were built in the 1960s, he promised to partner the prisons authorities to modernise the facility.
“Ebonyi State Government could suspend one or two things and would want to at least de-roof some of the buildings and re-roof them,” he promised.
The governor also said his administration would provide sporting facilities in the prisons in order to keep inmates engaged.
Umahi added, “Recreational and sporting facilities will be provided. I believe such things will engage those in the prisons and keep them away of thinking of how to escape. When they are engaged, they will not have time to think about crimes. What we have here cannot reform anyone. It will rather hadden them. We have to reform them and reintegrate the good ones into our society.”