The federal government has on Tuesday says 1,993 inmates escaped from Benin City and Oko custodial center after some protesters believed to be under the #ENDSARS attacked the centers on Monday.
This is contained in a statement issued by Ministry of Interior Director, Press & Public Relations Mohammed Manga who said: “Two Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) Custodial Centres in Benin City and Oko in Edo State were attacked yesterday by protesters purportedly under the #ENDSARS aegis, freeing (at the last count) 1,993 inmates in legal custody and looting the centres, including the weapons in their armoury.”
The statement further said the protesters came in large number, bearing dangerous weapons and attacked the officers on guard duty. They were unmistakable on their mission, which was to force the cells open, free the inmates and carry out other nefarious activities.
The situation has been brought under control while security in and around the custodial centres nationwide has been beefed up. Investigation has commenced to determine the full impact of the attack. The statement added.
It must be reiterated that the custodial centres are high security zones. The primary duty of the institution is to keep custody of convicted criminals and awaiting trial suspects; this comes before their reformation. It is integral to the justice administration system.
Manga assures Nigerians, especially Edo State residents, that in conjunction with other security agencies, we have commenced the tracking and apprehension of all the escaped inmates before they do any harm. Anyone who notices any person or persons that might have escaped from the custodial centres should, as a patriotic duty, inform the nearest security agency.
Most of the inmates held at the centres are convicted criminals serving terms for various criminal offences, awaiting execution or standing trial for violent crimes. Their being let loose gravely imperils lives and property. It is an unacceptable and intolerable threat to national and communal security. Government’s primary duty is to protect lives and property and keep the people safe. We shall not be shirking in our responsibility and we shall not disappoint the people.
The ministry of interior further urged the #ENDSARS protesters to remain peaceful, embrace dialogue, screen their rank and file and flush out those with criminal intents and, more importantly, steer clear of the custodial centres.