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General News of Tuesday, 2 August 2022


Three off-duty prison personnel framed, sacked by superiors for 2021 jailbreak - Source

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Three personnel of the Nigeria Correctional Service have allegedly been sacked illegally over an offence committed by a senior officer, according to SaharaReporters.

Identified as Ogechi Ohanu, Nnadi Ansalem and Ndieze Chikwendu, the officers attached to the Owerri custodial centre were sacked in July 2021 without being given a fair hearing, it was learnt.

Documents seen by SaharaReporters showed that the officers were sacked over a jailbreak at the facility in 2016 despite not being on duty. Some inmates had escaped through the facility’s fence where security cables were cut into pieces.

A former commander of the facility and current Deputy Controller of Correctional Service, Kalu Mathew however alleged that the inmates escaped under the supervision of the three dismissed officials three days before the incident.

“In September 2016 when Kalu Mathew, Deputy Controller of prison was in charge of Owerri custodial centre, there was an escape through the correctional service fence where security cables were cut into pieces,” a source familiar with the incident told SaharaReporters.

“With a view to save his office, he immediately alleged that inmates escaped through the courts three days before the incident that occurred at night. Officers that went to court were not on night duty. Immediately, they were issued with charge sheets which they answered immediately.

“After the normal trial and retrial, they were all declared innocent by the adjudicating panels. Unknown to the officers that Kalu Mathew has organised with his close ally, Alloy Uchenwa who was then Assistant Controller General (ACG) (now retired), he was in charge of Zone "E" Zonal Command which includes Imo and other states, they set up disciplinary committee without inviting the officers.

“They found them guilty and made so many recommendations against them. Five years later, the three officers were dismissed based on the report written against them without their knowledge. When a disciplinary committee is set up without informing and inviting the parties involved, any decision reached is against their fundamental human rights and it's against the principles of fair hearing and natural justice.

“The Nigerian Correctional Service should abolish any disciplinary committee that is aimed at concluding trial behind any of their personnel without inviting him. It amounts to intimidating the officer and passing a judgement without his consent. In this particular matter, they procured written statements of inmates, designed such to indict and implicate the officers and use such to find them guilty behind their back.

“The officers have been in pains and agony as a result of the treatment meted out to them. The disciplinary unit of the service headed by N.I. Idris is also in involved. They are using delay tactics and collecting undue Duty Travel Allowances (DTA) from the government just to frustrate the said officers who are already in court.”

Calls put across by SaharaReporters to Abubakar Umar, spokesperson for NCoS were not answered nor returned. A text message also sent to his mobile line had not been replied to at the time of filing this report.


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