182 out of the 210 prisoners in the Minna Medium Security Prison are at large following the attack on the facility, the Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Dambazau, disclosed on Monday.
Gunmen had on Sunday night invaded the Minna Medium Security Prison killing one prison officer and an okada rider that conveyed him to the facility.
It was learnt that the gunmen came to the prison premises about 9pm, shooting sporadically for over one hour to scare away residents.
Our correspondent gathered that they attacked the prison and gained access after an exchange of fire with armed prison officials.
A resident of Kafin-Teller where the prison is situated, Mohammed Umaru, told our correspondent that some of the prisoners that escaped during the incident came back on their own.
According to him, most of them have almost concluded their jail terms and have to come back to avoid extension.
Addressing journalists after assessing the prison in Minna, Dambazau said that two prisoners whose death warrants were to be signed by Governor Abubakar Bello were among the escapees.
“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. However, the investigation will bring out most of these.”
The minister blamed the jailbreak on security gaps, saying, “The visit revealed some security gaps which must be tackled to prevent reoccurrence.”
He said a committee had been set up to investigate the incident, adding that the ministry would work with the committee’s report.
Meanwhile, the Comptroller General of Nigerian Prisons Service, Ja’afaru Ahmed, has debunked the rumour that the prison was attacked because it had 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.”
Ahmed did not disclose how the gunmen gained access into the prison, the number of officials on duty and those injured.
The state Governor, Abubakar Bello, described the incident as unfortunate, adding that the state was set to partner with the Federal Government towards forestalling reoccurrence.