Gunmen attacked and set free 210 inmates at the Minna Maximum Prisons in the central Nigeria state of Niger on Sunday night and killed a warder and a commercial motorcycle operator.
Interior minister Abdulrahman Dambazau confirmed the escape of the inmates, but that 32 of them have been re-arrested.
During the jailbreak, he said that gunmen shot sporadically, paving way for the escape of the inmates.
The minister, alongside Niger State governor Abubakar Bello, visited the prison facility on Monday morning to ascertain the situation.
Dambazau lamented the inadequate manpower in the Nigerian prisons and added that plans were on to recruit more workers to enable adequate security.
The spokesperson of the prison service in Niger State, Rabiu Shuaibu, had earlier confirmed the Sunday night attack on the prison which is located in Tunga area of Minna.
He said the incident was perpetrated after the armed criminals attacked the prison and gained access after an exchange of fire with prison officials.
In 2014, a similar jailbreak occurred at the Minna maximum prisons where hundreds of inmates were freed.
Bello on Monday refuted allegations that the attack was as a result of activities of some condemned criminals.
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.
“I have not seen anything so far on condemned 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,” he said.
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.
“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.