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We’ll Recapture All Escaped Inmates – Aregbesola Says at Abolongo

We’ll Recapture All Escaped Inmates – Aregbesola Says at Abolongo (photos)

Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has vowed to pursue and recapture all inmates who escaped from the Abolongo Custodial Centre of the Nigeria Correctional Service, NCoS, on Friday night during a vicious attack on the facility by yet to be identified gunmen.

The Minister gave the assurance whilst making an inspection visit to the facility on Sunday morning, in Oyo, Oyo State.

“I’m assuring Nigerians that the Federal Government will pursue not just those who attacked our facility, but those who have escaped lawful custody.

 

“The attack was unconscionable, I commend officers of the Nigeria Correctional Service and other members of sister security agencies who provided perimeter security for our facility for fighting gallantly and holding the fort before the attackers were able to gain access to the awaiting trial section of the facility, however, those who escaped are already being pursued. Some have been rearrested, many more will still be captured,” the Minister stated.

Giving more details about those who escaped, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola noted that, 446 out of 907 escapees have been recaptured, whilst 69 never left the facility.

 

“As at the last count, 446 of the escapees have been recaptured leaving 392 still at large. We want to assure Nigerians that the service have an updated database of the escapees which includes their biometrics. We are sharing the database with all security agencies in the country including the Interpol, so those who escape our recapture efforts can be nabbed.

“To those on the run, be assured you have nowhere to hide. You can run, but you can’t hide. We’ll fish you out! We are publishing details of those we escaped in the mass media so the public can assist in that effort,” the Minister reiterated.

 

On the effort to rebuild the damaged part of the facility, the Minister noted that he has directed the NCoS, to immediately begin remediation work.

“I have instructed the CG of NCoS to immediately begin the reconstruction of the damaged parts of the building. We hope to make the facility better secured and more habitable for the inmates.

Also speaking during the inspection, the Controller General of the Nigeria Correctional Service, NCoS, Haliru Nababa, mni, noted that so far, the service has successfully prevented internal jailbreaks in all her facilities.

“The NCoS have so far prevented internal jailbreaks in the country. What we have reoccurring in recent times are external attacks on our facilities. We have been retraining our officers not just on securing those in lawful custody, but prevent external attacks.

“We are collaborating with other security agencies in the country to make such attacks near impossible and where they do occur, the attacks will have not live to regret it,” the CG stated.

On the instruction given by the Minister of Interior to immediately begin remediation work on the facility, CG Nababa noted that work has begun already.

 

“As you can see, workers are already on site fixing damaged doors, broken windows and mounting walls. Before the end of today, work would have been completed on it,” Nababa stated.

“The spate of attacks on our custodial facilities, the last of which occurred here on Friday night calls for serious concern, first in our society and secondly on your professionalism. This is unacceptable and we are saying enough is enough.

“External attacks on custodial facilities were a rarity hitherto. What was common, and for which our system had been well primed, was internal breach. But beginning with thespontaneous #endsars protests of last year which dovetailed into massive riots, there have been consistent attacks on our facilities in Owerri, Benin, Kabba and now Oyo. This is not just some random happenings. These are premeditated, planned and coordinated attacks meant to make Nigeria unsafe and ridicule the government.

”For the avoidance of doubt, the custodial system is at the heart of the rule of law and justice system.

“Those awaiting trial and kept in legal custody by competent courts are deemed dangerous to society and should be withdrawn from the publicor are kept in protective custody for their own safety and the integrity of the trial they are going through.

“Convicted felons are already sentenced, serving terms and paying penance. But ultimately, the greater purpose of their being kept behind bars is for them to be reformed and come out better citizens. For those sentenced to life imprisonment, it is possible, after their reformation and record of consistent good behaviour, perhaps fortune will shine their way and they may be released on amnesty. It is a system of justice and societal renewal, of hope and redemption.

“But attacks on our facilities disrupt this process. Dangerous felons and criminal suspects adjudged to have committed serious crimes like terrorism, homicide, armed robbery are released and let loose on society.

“Last year, we had an unfortunate case of an escaped convict that went to kill those who served as witnesses in the case against him, before he was later arrested. Of course, he would serve the remainder of his term and go for fresh trial for escaping from lawful custody and the murder of the witnesses. But the harm had been done. Thanks to those who made it possible for him to escape from custody ab initio.

“We responded to the attacks by retraining our officers and increased the number of armed personnel in our facilities. But Kabba again proved a different kettle of fish with the share number of the invaders and the sophistication of their arms and incendiary devices they brought.

“Again, the Oyo attack came out of the ordinary. Nothing absolutely suggests that any such attack could happen or be possible, given the security measures we have put in place.

“Let me assure Nigerians of their safety of lives and property. Our custodial facilities are safe and we are putting extra safety measures in place, in light of the observed pattern of the external attacks we have seen, to prevent any such occurrence in the future.

“This matter is being investigated and we shall leave no stone unturned to get to the root of the matter – the remote and immediate causes and the vulnerability of our system and personnel, if any.
There shall not be a repeat of our guards being overwhelmedagain. This is an anomaly that should never repeat itself. The Federal Republic of Nigeria cannot be overwhelmed. Our guards will give whatever it takes, never to be overwhelmed again.

“We are going after every single inmate that escaped from custody. We shall hunt them to the ends of the earth. All the security agencies in the country are on their trail. We shall not rest or tire until we bring the last one in, dead or alive.

“I am calling on all Nigerians, to, as a patriotic duty, report to the nearest security post, any sighting of an escaped inmate or any information that could lead to the arrest of any fleeing inmate. A handsome reward awaits such informants.

“I will need to add that it is a criminal offence, punishable by a jail term, to offer any assistance whatsoever, 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 their sighting to law enforcement.

”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, making 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. And we shall surely apprehend them.

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

“On behalf of the Federal Government, I am offering my deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the Friday attack,” he reiterated.

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