The Nigerian Correctional Service has confirmed that the gunmen who attacked its facility in Imo State in the early hours of Monday, freed 1,844 inmates.
This was confirmed by the Public Relations Officer of the Service, Francis Enobore in a statement in Abuja, adding that the attackers stormed the facilities at about 0215 hours.
While announcing that “The Owerri Custodial Centre in Imo State has been attacked by unknown gunmen”, Enobore stated that the attackers “gained entrance into the yard by using explosives to blast the administrative block… and forcefully released a total of 1,844 inmates in custody.”
Enobore explained as at the last count, six inmates voluntarily returned to the facility while 35 inmates refused to escape.
Speaking further, he said: “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.
“The Acting Controller-General of Corrections, John Mrabure has ordered a comprehensive investigation into the incident and in collaboration with other security organisations, 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.
“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.”