Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has vowed that all inmates who escaped from the Abolongo Custodial Centre of the Nigeria Correctional Service, Oyo State, on Friday night will be recaptured.
The Minister gave the assurance during an inspection visit to the facility on Sunday morning.
In a copy of the speech delivered during the visitation, the minister claimed that attacks on prisons in the country were premeditated and meant to ridicule the government.
He lamented that jailbreaks and attacks on prisons worsened after the #EndSARS protest in the country.
He said, “External attacks on custodial facilities were a rarity hitherto. What was common, and for which our system had been well primed, was an internal breach. But beginning with the spontaneous #EndSARS protests of last year which dovetailed into massive riots, there have been consistent attacks on our facilities in Owerri, Benin, Kabba, and now Oyo.
“This is not just some random happenings. These are premeditated, planned and coordinated attacks meant to make Nigeria unsafe and ridicule the government.
“I’m assuring Nigerians that the Federal Government will pursue not just those who attacked our facility, but those who have escaped lawful custody.
“The attack was unconscionable, I commend officers of the Nigeria Correctional Service and other members of sister security agencies who provided perimeter security for our facility for fighting gallantly and holding the fort before the attackers were able to gain access to the awaiting trial section of the facility, however, those who escaped are already being pursued. Some have been rearrested, many more will still be captured,” the Minister stated.
Giving more details about those who escaped, Aregbesola noted that 446 out of 907 escapees have been recaptured, whilst 69 never left the facility.
“As at the last count, 446 of the escapees have been recaptured leaving 392 still at large. We want to assure Nigerians that the service have an updated database of the escapees which includes their biometrics. We are sharing the database with all security agencies in the country including Interpol, so those who escape our recapture efforts can be nabbed.
“To those on the run, be assured you have nowhere to hide. You can run, but you can’t hide. We’ll fish you out! We are publishing details of those we escaped in the mass media so the public can assist in that effort,” the Minister reiterated.
Also speaking during the inspection, the Controller General of the Nigeria Correctional Service, NCoS, Haliru Nababa, noted that so far, the service has successfully prevented internal jailbreaks in all her facilities.
“The NCoS have so far prevented internal jailbreaks in the country. What we have reoccurring in recent times are external attacks on our facilities. We have been retraining our officers not just on securing those in lawful custody but prevent external attacks.
“We are collaborating with other security agencies in the country to make such attacks near impossible and where they do occur, the attackers will have not live to regret it,” the CG stated.