The Nigerian Correctional Service, giving account of the Owerri prison break in Imo state at midnight Monday, said 1,844 inmates were set free during the attack by yet to be identified gunmen.
The Public Relations Officer of the Service, Francis Enobore in a press statement in Abuja confirmed that the attackers invaded the Owerri Federal Prison by damaging the gates with explosives and freeing over hundreds of inmates detained in the facility.
He said, “The Owerri Correctional Centre in Imo State has been 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.
“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 recovery 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.”
Meanwhile, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has distanced itself from the Monday’s attacks on Police and Correctional Service headquarters in IMO state.