Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger on Monday refuted allegations that the Sunday night attack by some gunmen on Minna Medium Prison was as a result of activities of some condemned criminals.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports in Minna that one prison officer and a motorcyclist lost their lives when unknown gunmen attacked the prison and freed 210 prisoners.
Bello also refuted claims that the attackers were suspected members of the Boko Haram or armed robbers who came to free some of their members in the prison.
He explained that since assumption of office in 2015, he has yet to see any paper on condemned criminals.
He said: “I have not seen anything so far on condemn criminals or anybody that was condemned. Only when I see anything on condemned criminals that is when I will do something on it.
“Sometimes, people get desperate and do crazy things. Nobody is sure why the attack was carried out; saying the attackers were members of the Boko Haram is mere rumour.”
Bello, who described the incident as unfortunate, said that the state would work with the Federal government to address the challenges of infrastructures and shortage of manpower in the prison.
The governor appealed to the prison officers to discharge their duties diligently as investigation was ongoing to know the reason behind the attack.
Bello said: “At the state level here, we will look at the issue of infrastructure, operations and shortage of manpower. But, again, people should take their jobs seriously.
“Even though investigation is ongoing, we need to do more in terms of taking care of our facilities especially prison.”
Also, Ahmed Ja’afaru, Comptroller General of the Nigeria Prison Service, said that there was no suspected Boko Haram members in the prison.
He said that investigation would reveal the reason behind the attack and how the attackers gained access to the prison.
He said: “Our men and facility were attacked. Investigation will tell us the number of the attackers and how they were able to gain access.”
Meanwhile, Malam Mohammed Umaru, an eye witness told NAN that the gunmen came with four vehicles.
He said that the gunmen divided themselves into groups and directed residents of the area to go into their houses before attacking the prison.
Bello said: “They told us to enter our houses that they don’t want to see anyone outside. We had to start calling our loved ones that were in town not to return home yet until after the attackers had gone.
“They killed a prison officer who was resuming night duty and an ‘Okada man’ that brought him.”