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Oyo Prison attack: 837 awaiting trial inmates escape

• 300 recaptured, 537 missing –Official

Five persons were on Friday evening shot and killed by the armed gunmen that attacked the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Abolongo, Oyo, in Oyo State. Some other people were injured, Sunday Telegraph learnt yesterday evening. The dead, according to Sunday Telegraph check included a soldier, who was shot in the stomach and in the head, two Amotekun personal, and two Vigilante men.

One vigilante man, who was also shot in the head as at yesterday evening, was still being attended to at the University College Hospital (UCH). Of about 1,000 inmates that escaped, the Controller of the State Command, Mr. Noel Ailewon, disclosed that more than 300 inmates had been recaptured as at yesterday evening through the search efforts of the Correctional staff, men of the Vigilante groups and the Amotekun Corps.

Security posts and the main entrance to the Centre were riddled with bullets and dynamites through which the dare-devil gunmen gained access to the prison. The observatory towers, residence of the head of custodial centre, were not spared as they were riddled with bullets and dynamites.

The Comptroller made the disclosure about those recaptured in an interview with journalists at the facility in Abolongo, saying that profiling of the recaptured inmates and those that did not escape was ongoing.

Men of the Correctional Centre and other security personnel were reportedly busy yesterday arresting some of the fleeing inmates whenever they were found to be hiding. Sunday Telegraph gathered that the bandits stormed the facility at about 10pm, attacking the facility with grenades to gain access and set the prisoners free, a development that left the facility in disarray as warders were said to be scampering for safety while trying to repel the attackers.

Other security agencies also mobilized their personnel to support men and women of the Nigerian Correctional Service in tracking down the bandits and re-arresting the fleeing prisoners, it was gathered. Confirming the incident on Saturday morning, the Spokesman for the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) in the state, Olanrewaju Anjorin, said that the senior officers of the agency were on their way to assess the level of damage. His words: “Yes. It has been confirmed that the attack actually happened. And right now, the Comptroller of Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) and other top officers are assessing the situation.”

According to him there were about 837 awaiting trial inmates who escaped from the Centre, when the gunmen attacked the facility. Anjorin said all the 837 awaiting trial inmates were freed by the attackers, pointing out that the cell housing the convicts and the inmates were not vandalised. He said that a total of 262 escaped inmates had been recaptured, while 575 were still at large.

“The invaders arrived the centre heavily armed with sophisticated weapons and after a fierce encounter with the officers on guard, they gained entrance into the yard, using dynamite to blast the wall. “All the awaiting trial detainees were forced out of custody, the cells housing the convicts and the female inmates were not vandalised.

“Meanwhile, a total of 262 of the escapees have been recaptured leaving 575 still at large. “Following the directives of the Controller-General of Corrections, Haliru Nababa, the State Controller, Noel Ailewon, has commenced the process of search and recapture after visiting the scene of the incident,” Anjorin said. He said the state controller had assured the public that no effort would be spared to recapture the fleeing inmates. According to him, the controller-general has solicited for credible intelligence to assist the security agencies in tracking down the fleeing inmates. He said that the Oyo Custodial Centre was established in 2007 with a capacity of 160 inmates, but had a total population of 907 at the time of attack. “Of this number, awaiting trial persons were 837 representing 92 per cent with just 64 convicts,” Anjorin said.

But, I can confirm to you that the incident actually happened”, he said In his reaction, Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, said the attack was a national embarrassment and poor security situation of the country. In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Kehinde Aderemi, the generalissimo of Yorubaland said the invasion of Oyo town prison by bandits has exposed the poor security situation in the country.

He also expressed concerns at the situation, adding that Oyo State and the entire South West has never experienced such jail-break in a very long time, adding that the same situation also played out in Kabba, Kogi State. He said: “Oyo town has never recorded such an incident in its long history.

It is unfortunate that insecurity has triggered various types of menace across the country.” Adams, however, blamed the Oyo State security service for its failure to beef up the security in the prison.

“Following the attack on the Abuja- bound train, and the Oyo prison attack, it is certainly no doubt that the bandits are playing out a script that will later engulf the entire nation. “It is, indeed, very ridiculous to hear such unsavoury news coming from the ancient town. However, I want to express my concern to Kabiyesi, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and the Oyo State government. “I am also using this opportunity to urge the Inspector General of Police to look into the security situation in Oyo and address the problem in the most professional manner. Oyo State is very sensitive to the South West and we cannot continue to live in fears.”

 

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