Minister of Interior Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has confirmed the death of five inmates in Ikoyi Custodial Centre of correctional service ,Lagos
The minister also confirmed that seven others were seriously injured
The inmates were electrocuted in their cells following a power surge at about 7am.
Aregbesola, who visited the facility for an on the spot assessment, declined to name the victims’, saying their families were yet to be notified.
The minister said he would probe the incident and that a coroner’s report would confirm the exact cause of death.
He commiserated with the families of the victims and pledged to work towards averting a similar incident.
Aregbesola said: “The government of the federation deeply regrets the unfortunate incident. It happened this morning at about 7am.
“I have gone round to see the cell where this incident occurred and I want to express to Nigerians the deep sympathy of the Federal Government and all of us about the circumstances of the accident that led to some loss of lives in one of the cells.
“I’m going to put together a team that will go into the root of how the accident occurred with a view to ensuring that no such thing happens again.
“This is quite sad ,distressing and disturbing . We pray for the repose of the souls of the deceased. We equally pray that God will give the families that are bereaved the fortitude to bear the loss.
“The victims’ identities would be publicised after their families have been notified.
“The law recommends in this instance a coroner’s inquest which will reveal what the exact cause of the deaths were, but beyond that, we will look into everything about it, the circumstances, the how, why, and generally ,the cause of this.”
He said President Muhammadu Buhari was” quite disturbed” about the incident and that “it is highly regretted”.
Controller-General of Corrections Ja’afaru Ahmed confirmed the incident.
He said the facility was overcrowded, but that he not speculate as to whether overcrowding was the reason for the incident.
“Our primary responsibility as a service is to secure human custody ;that’s what I have been doing over the years ,but incidents do happen even in our homes. It is is generating a lot of controversy or interest, because it happened in a government facility there’s always that perception. But these are incidents that always happen in living houses. There was actually an electricity surge, the cause of which we don’t know yet, because we still have to investigate and investigation will reveal when how and why it happened. As I speak to you, we have five inmates that died and seven are in the hospital .I gave you this number because I want to avoid speculation and everybody knows that there is overcrowding in this facility.
This facility was established in 1955 for just 800 inmates, but it is having 3113 and out of this number, 2680 are waiting trial so it’s just barely about 400 plus that are convicted felons which the correctional or custodial centre needs, because we need convicts not awaiting trial persons. We have other facilities where we can move these people to if they had been convicted. We can move them to other centres that are less congested.
“Like the minister has said there is a concerted effort on the part of the government and especially this present administration to turn around fortunes of the Nigerian correctional services.