Nigeria

Oyo jailbreak: We have biometric data of escaped inmates – minister

The Nigeria Correctional Service, Oyo State Command, says 837 awaiting trial inmates escaped from the Abolongo Correctional Centre in Oyo Town when suspected gunmen attacked the facility.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, says there is no hiding place for all the escaped inmates from the Abolongo Correctional Centre in Oyo Town on Friday night.

Mr Aregbesola spoke on Sunday during his visit to the correctional centre in Oyo.

Recall that suspected gunmen attacked the correctional facility on Friday at about 9.50 p.m., freeing 837 awaiting trial inmates.

“I am assuring Nigerians that there is no hiding place for any inmate that escaped from our facilities.

“This is because, we have the records of all the inmates, including their biometric data, which are being forwarded to the Interpol.

“This will make it impossible for them to travel, apply for any travel document, engage in any financial transaction or present themselves at any border post in any country in the world.

“They are fugitives and will remain on the run until we apprehend them; we shall surely apprehend them,” the minister said.

He said security agencies were already on their trail and would not rest until “they are able to bring in the last one dead or alive”.

Mr Aregbesola, however, called on Nigerians to be patriotic and report to the nearest security post whenever they sight an escaped inmate, promising that handsome rewards await the informants.

He said it was a criminal offence, punishable by a jail term for anyone to offer any assistance, not even giving a cup of water, to any inmate that escaped from lawful custody.

“You cannot help them in any way absolutely, by way of cash, food, clothing, medical care, employment, road direction and any form of help, other than to encourage them to turn themselves in and report them to the law enforcement agencies.

“The Federal Government, however, out of magnanimity, is giving them a small window to voluntarily turn themselves in, for which they will be pardoned for escaping from custody,” he said.

The minister condoled with the families of the victims of the attack.

In his comments, the Assistant-Controller in charge of the Abolongo Correctional Centre, Adams Ongaji, said a total of 378 inmates had been recaptured, while 460 are still at large.

Also, the Deputy Controller-General in charge of Operations, Tukur Ahmad, debunked the rumour that the attackers came purposely to rescue Iskilu Wakili, a suspected kidnap kingpin.

Mr Ahmad said Mr Wakili was not kept at Abolongo Correctional Centre, adding that the only high-profile inmate in the facility was being tried by the EFCC and he was still in the facility.

In his remarks, the Alaafin of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi III, who also visited the facility, called on the people of the state to be calm, saying that government would respond to the situation appropriately.

The state governor, Seyi Makinde, also ordered the immediate installation of CCTV to all the Correctional centres in the state and the grading of the bad road leading to the centre.

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