Monday 10 July 2023

Kidnappers, robbers escape from prison, say warder received N1m bribe

Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force have arrested Kayode Fatombi, a warder at the Kirikiri Custodial Centre, Lagos State for allegedly aiding the escape of some prison inmates.

According to reports, the three escapees had earlier been arrested for robbery and kidnapping, then subsequently arraigned before the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja.

A source, who disclosed to Punch, said two of the inmates escaped after the warder led them out on the pretext of taking them somewhere.

After the police got information on the development, they tracked the inmates and re-arrested them.

Following the rearrest, they confessed to having paid the warder N500,000 each.

“The warder is now at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba, and is expected to be charged on Monday.

“He was attached to the Kirikiri custodial prison as a warder, and he took the inmates facing trial at the High Court for kidnapping and armed robbery out of the prison and allowed them to escape. He claimed that they ran away while he was leading them out. During the investigation, it was gathered that he purposely allowed them to escape, so he was arrested and kept at the SCID, Yaba.

“The suspects were tracked and caught and they confessed that they gave him money to allow them to escape. The inmates confessed that they paid him N500,000 each,” the source said.

The informant claimed that the officer had been dismissed and would be arraigned on Monday.

“He was led to the police office at the SCID on July 6 in handcuffs and leg chains,” he added.

Another information divulger said the incident happened a few months back, adding that the warder was taken into custody around mid-May 2023.

“What the warder told his bosses was that he was taking the inmates back to prison after their court sitting at Ikeja when he was waylaid by a gang that freed two of the suspects.

“The prison service arrested him for a disciplinary procedure. This was ongoing when the warder consulted with someone in the police force and engaged him to track the escapees. He provided the necessary information that led to their re-arrest.

“When they were re-arrested, instead of briefing his bosses in the correctional service on the development, he kept the information to himself. He went to meet the police sometime in May and was arrested and detained.

“The information I have is that when the suspects were arrested, somebody told them who leaked out their details and because of that, they made a counter-allegation that the warder collected money from them. That was why the police detained him,” the source stated.

The source said the correctional service was not being carried along with the process, as the ongoing internal trial of Fatombi had not been completed when he was detained by the police.

The source explained that the re-arrested inmates were also supposed to be returned to the service, from where they would be arraigned for several crimes, including escape from lawful custody.

“Even the warder has been in a police cell for about two months now. I gathered that the Lagos Controller has tried to talk to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police for possible inter-agency collaboration, but it has not worked,” the source added.

Benjamin Hundeyin, Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, who confirmed the incident, said Fatombi would be arraigned this week.

“I can confirm that he is in our custody and will be arraigned this week. He was arrested for aiding the escape of some inmates, two of whom have been re-arrested,” Hundeyin said.

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