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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Anambra State confirms plans by NPS to relocate Boko Haram convicts to Ekwulobia Prisons, rejects plot



The government of Anambra State has confirmed the plans by the Nigerian Prisons Services (NPS) to relocate undisclosed number of high-risk Boko Haram convicts to Ekwulobia Prison in the state, reports ITRealms.
ITRealms had earlier reported this plan, even as Ekwulobia Prison is one of the four Nigerian Prisons Services facilities in Anambra State.
Reacting to this report, the Anambra State Government said the plan never got any approval from the Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, but rather he raised several objections to the plan on confirmation of the plot.
According to the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Governor, Mr. James Eze who confirmed to ITRealms described Boko Haram convicts as high-risk that cannot be accommodate in a prison other than maximum prison, stressing that Ekwulobia Prison is not one of such.
Some of the objections, Obiano raised, ITRealms gathered, include:
“That Anambra has been one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria in the past one year under his watch and that the arrival of these radical elements in any part of the state would disrupt this peace and lead to a new regime of a different kind of fear in the state.
“That Ekwulobia Prisons is not a Maximum Security Prison. It is therefore not suitable as holding place for convicted terrorists. Global experiences show that terrorists and terror suspects are kept in strongly fortified and isolated places. A good example is the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp where the US keeps high-risk terror suspects and convicts which is a military facility, located away from the people. Ekwulobia Prisons does not fit into this category of detention facilities.
“That Ekwulobia Prisons has a capacity to hold 85 inmates. At the moment, there are 135 inmates in the prison. Therefore, there is no space for new prisoners. The acute shortage of space presents a high possibility for the radicalization of other inmates by the Boko Haram convicts.
“That unlike other locations where the terror-convicts are held in sparsely populated areas which makes their isolation from the people easy, Ekwulobia is a densely populated town. There is a very high risk of contact between these radical prisoners and the civilian population with an avoidable danger.
“That the relocation of these prisoners to Anambra may not have paid adequate attention to the sensibilities of the country, especially the fact that some ethnic populations have suffered the most from the activities of these convicts across the North,” he said.
Also, ITRealms gathered that Governor Obiano’s efforts at establishing understanding and achieving a speedy as well as peaceful resolution of the matter went to the highest authorities. 
“He was given assurances that the matter would be looked into with a view to resolving it with dispatch,” Eze told ITRealms in a press statement made available late Sunday night.
Further, he said that with these assurances Gov. Obiano worked assiduously to ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order during the peaceful demonstration staged by traders across the state on Saturday, June 27, 2015 against the relocation of the inmates. 
“Since the demonstration, Governor Obiano has continued to engage the relevant authorities on behalf of Ndi Anambra to ensure an amicable resolution of the issue,” he said.
Therefore, Gov. Obiano urged Ndi Anambra and Ndigbo in general to remain calm and avoid anything that might lead to a breach of the peace as the matter is being resolved at the highest level.

+Remmy Nweke (ITRealms)
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