The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has vowed to recapture all inmates who escaped from the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) Custodial Centre, Abolongo, Oyo, saying the federal government has enlisted the service of the Interpol to nab fleeing prisoners.
A statement by the minister’s media aide, Sola Fasure, stated that Aregbesola made the promise while on an inspection visit to the facility on Sunday in Oyo.
The minister assured Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime would pursue not just those who attacked the facility but prisoners who fled.
“The attack was unconscionable. I commend officers of the 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,” said Mr Aregbesola. “However, those who escaped are already being pursued. Some have been re-arrested. Many more will still be captured.”
He announced that 446 out of 907 fleeing inmates were recaptured.
“As of the last count, 446 of the escapees have been recaptured, leaving 392 still at large. We want to assure Nigerians that the service has an updated database of the escapees, which include their biometrics,” the minister explained. “We are sharing the database with all security agencies in the country, including the Interpol, so those who escaped our recapture efforts can be nabbed.”
To the prisoners on the lam, Mr Aregbesola stated, “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 who escaped in the mass media so the public can assist in that effort.”
Regarding the damaged prison, the minister disclosed: “I have instructed the C-G of NCoS to immediately begin the reconstruction of the damaged parts of the building. We hope to make the facility better secured and more habitable for the inmates.”
Also, the Controller-General of NCoS, Haliru Nababa, noted that the service had successfully prevented internal jailbreaks in all its facilities so far.
“The NCoS has 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 preventing external attacks,” Mr Nababa noted. “We are collaborating with other security agencies in the country to make such attacks are near impossible, and where they do occur, the attackers will not live to regret it.”
Armed gunmen had attacked the Abolongo Custodial Centre on Saturday night, freeing hundreds of prison inmates.