A total of 837 inmates awaiting trial escaped from the Medium Security Custodial Centre in Abolongo, Oyo State.
The spokesman for the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCos) in the state, Olanrewaju Anjorin, confirmed the figure in a statement on Saturday, barely a day after the incident.
He explained that yet to be identified gunmen attacked the custodial centre at about 9:30pm on Friday, adding that some of them have returned.
“A total of 262 of the escapees have been recaptured, leaving 575 still at large,” said Anjorin.
“Following the directives of the Controller-General of Corrections, Haliru Nababa mni, the State Controller, Noel Ailewon, has commenced the process of search and recapture after visiting the scene of the incident.
“He assured that no effort will be spared to recapture the fleeing inmates, even as he solicited for credible intelligence to aid security agencies in tracking down the fugitives.”
The custodial centre in Oyo town was established in 2007 with a capacity of 160 inmates. But at the time of the attack, a total of 907 inmates were in custody.
Of this figure, 837 people are awaiting trial, representing 92 per cent of the total population of inmates there while 64 are convicts.
The invaders were said to have arrived at the custodial centre heavily armed with sophisticated weapons.
They later gained entry into the yard using dynamite to blast the wall of the facility, following a fierce encounter with officers on guard,
While all the awaiting trial detainees were forced out of custody, the cells housing the convicts and the female inmates were not vandalised.
Reacting to the incident, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbosola, assured residents to go about their normal businesses, but to report any suspicious movement or any sign of the escaped inmates and the gunmen to the nearest security post around them.
In a statement by his media adviser, Sola Fasure, the minister also confirmed that a joint security services manhunt launched to apprehend the attackers and the escapees led to the recapture of a number of inmates while others returned voluntarily.
“Those who are on the run are advised to turn themselves in, as an escape from lawful custody is a serious offence. The full weight of the law will be brought on them when arrested,” he warned in the statement.
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