The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) on Monday afternoon gave the official account of how the Owerri Custodial Centre in Imo State was attacked by unknown gunmen and forcefully released a total of 1,844 inmates in custody.
“The attackers who stormed the facility at about 0215hrs on Monday 5th April, 2021, gained entrance into the yard by using explosives to blast the administrative block.
“They were said to have arrived the centre in their large number in several Hilux pick-up vans and Sienna Buses armed with sophisticated weapons and immediately engaged the security personnel on duty in a fierce gun battle.
“They eventually detonated the explosive to gain entrance,” Acting Controller-General of Corrections, John Mrabure, said in a statement issued on his behalf by NCoS Public Relations Officer Francis Enobore, mni.
The Acting Controller-General of Corrections disclosed that he has “ordered a comprehensive investigation into the incident and in collaboration with other security organizations, commenced a search and recover operations to recapture the fleeing inmates.”
“While appealing to the good citizens of Imo State and indeed Nigerians to volunteer useful intelligence that will facilitate the recovery effort, the Ag. Controller-General wishes to assure that the security of custodial centres in the country remains sacrosanct.
“He equally directed all officers attached to custodial facilities to remain vigilant at this trying moment in our history,” the statement said.
It disclosed that “as at the last count, 6 inmates have so far voluntarily returned to the facility while 35 inmates refused to escape from custody during the attack.”