By Anozie Egole
ABAKALIKI—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 heads 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 prison 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 from 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 harden them. We have to reform them and reintegrate the good ones into our society.”
Ugwuanyi appeals to traders over sewage spillover at Enugu prisons
Meanwhile, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has appealed to traders of Ogbete main market, Enugu for understanding and calm over the unfortunate incident of overflow of sewage from Enugu Prisons to the market, which poses health hazards to the traders and the public.
Gov. Ugwuanyi who made the appeal when he visited the sites at Enugu Prisons and the market to assess the level of damage caused by the incident, promised to intervene to provide a lasting solution to the menace of the spillover.
He frowned at the development and sympathized with the traders and the public, informing them that what affects the people of the state also affects him, wondering why the incident was not brought to his notice for timely intervention, as the Chief Security Officer of the state.
The governor who also walked through the market to appeal to the traders, said that the visit was necessitated by the need for him to see for himself and feel the pains the traders were experiencing and collaborate with the Prisons authorities to proffer permanent solutions to the problem.
“May I sincerely apologise for this ugly incident. What affects you, also affects me as your Governor. The greatest objective of the government is to alleviate the sufferings of the people. I have come and I have seen what you people are passing through. Actions will start immediately to address this issue,” Ugwuanyi assured.
In his speech, the Controller of Prisons, Enugu State Command, Mr. Ifeanyi Amariri, thanked the governor for the prompt visit, saying that the incident was as a result of over population of inmates in the prisons.