The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has confirmed the attack on the Medium Security Custodial Centre, in Kabba, Kogi State, that led to the escape to the death of a soldier, a policeman and the escape of 240 prisoners. Two officers of the Correctional Service are unaccounted for.
Many of the inmates escaped after the gunmen used explosives to destroy three sides of the perimeter fence, but Aregbesola vowed that the Federal Government shall leave no stone unturned to bring the escaped inmates back to custody adding that the government is also putting INTERPOL on notice with their details, in case any of them attempts fleeing the country.
The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) spokesman, Mr Francis Enobore, said on Monday that the attack took place at about midnight on Sunday.
He disclosed that the attackers arrived heavily armed in their numbers at the custodial centre and engaged the guards in a fierce gun battle.
Aregbesola’s confirmation came through a statement by his spokesman, Sola Fasure.
He disclosed that during the attack, there were 15 Soldiers, 10 Police Officers and 10 armed guards of the NCoS on duty.
The Comptroller–General, Haliru Nababa, Enobore added, has ordered a recapture procedure to be activated while a detailed investigation has been initiated.
He appealed to the general public to furnish security operatives with useful intelligence that will help in catching escapees.
The custodial Centre had 294 inmates when the attack happened. Of the figure, 224 were pre-trial detainees and 70 convicted inmates.
The statement from Aregbesola’s office added that 28 inmates didn’t escape, while others have voluntarily returned to the facility this morning.
The statement adds, “The Controller-General of the Nigeria Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa, is currently monitoring the situation. A tour of the facility is also ongoing.
“A Crisis Response Centre has been activated and a Special Taskforce mobilized to recapture escaped inmates whilst an Inter-Agency Security Task Force is already on the trail of the gunmen who attacked the facility”.
“We urge the people, especially the communities around the custodial facility, to be vigilant and report any strange and suspicious persons or activities to the nearest law enforcement agency.
“To the fleeing inmates, escaping from lawful custody is a serious criminal offence. Law enforcement agencies and citizens are lawfully empowered to use all necessary means to arrest and bring you to justice. You should therefore know what you are up against.
“You will however be eligible for mitigation if you wilfully surrender yourselves at the nearest law enforcement office.
“The Nigeria Correctional Service shall not be cowed by elements seeking to compromise the security of our nation; we shall deal with this situation with absolute resolve.”