The Federal Government has requested the help of the International Criminal Police Organisation to be on the alert and lookout for prison inmates who escaped in the recent jailbreaks in the country, including that of Owerri, Imo state capital.
The government said that the Nigerian Immigration Service had also been issued an alert, noting that the data of the inmates were being compiled and would be sent to the relevant organisations in batches so as not to delay the manhunt.
A senior official with the Nigerian Correctional Service on Saturday told The Punch that the number of “dangerous” inmates on the loose officially was 3,471, including those who escaped in Owerri.
The source noted that the inmates included hardened criminals, kidnappers, armed robbers and condemned criminals awaiting execution. “Suffice it to say that the bulk of those who fled Owerri correctional centre are hardened criminals,” the source added.
No fewer than 1,844 inmates escaped from the Owerri Custodial Centre on Monday when unidentified gunmen broke into the facility with the aid of explosives. The gunmen also attacked the state police headquarters, where they freed about 600 suspects in custody. The attackers torched the facilities and also vehicles on both premises.
Despite the persuasion by the Federal Government and its assurance that they would be given amnesty from fresh prosecution if they returned to the facility, the NCoS said on its website on Wednesday that it had a total of 84 inmates back in custody. It said the figure included those who did not flee during the jailbreak, those recaptured, those who voluntarily returned and those brought back by their relations, traditional rulers and religious leaders.