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Oyo Prison Attack: NCoS solicits intelligence to capture 575 fleeing inmates

By Seye Olumide, Rotimi Agboluaje (Ibadan), Tina Abeku (Abuja) and Gbenga Akinfenwa (Lagos) 
24 October 2021   |   4:25 am
Following the attack on the Oyo State medium security custodial centre in Abolongo, Oyo, by yet to be identified gunmen Friday night, the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) has said that...

Prison cell. Photo: GETTYIMAGES

•‘262 Escapees Recaptured’
• Attack Embarrassing –Gani Adams, Yoruba Ronu

Following the attack on the Oyo State medium security custodial centre in Abolongo, Oyo, by yet to be identified gunmen Friday night, the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) has said that it has deployed more armed guards to secure the facility as well as launched a manhunt for the attackers and fleeing inmates.

Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the service at the headquarters in Abuja, Francis Enobore, said the service is already making effort to capture fleeing inmates and is appealing to members of the public to provide them with credible intelligence to help in this regard.

He also said a high-powered delegation has already left Abuja for Oyo to do an on-the-spot assessment of the attack.

Meanwhile, the command public relations officer, Oyo state, Olanrewaju Anjorin who spoke with The Guardian, said a search and capture mission has been initiated ahead the arrival of officials from the NCoS head office in Abuja for assessment of the situation for more action following the directives of the Controller General of Corrections, Haliru Nababa. 

In an earlier communique, Anjorin said the invaders arrived the centre heavily armed with sophisticated weapons and after a fierce encounter with officers on guard, gained entrance into the yard using dynamite to blast the wall.

“While 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. 
Nababa assured that no effort would be spared in recapturing the fleeing inmates even as he solicited credible intelligence to aid Security agencies in tracking down the fugitives. 

Oyo Custodial Centre was established in 2007 with a capacity of 160 inmates but at the time of attack, had a total population of 907. Of this number, awaiting trial persons were 837 representing 92% with just 64 convicts.

The attack on the Abolongo correctional facility is one in a series of prisons attacks that has taken place this year alone even as the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said that the government has taken all necessary precaution to prevent further attacks and has declared all prisons facilities in the country red zones.

It could be recalled that last month, gunmen attacked the Kabba custodial centre leading to the escape of hundreds of inmates and the loss of prisons officers who fought to repel the attacking gunmen

Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams, has condemned the attack of the Oyo correctional facility, saying the invasion was a national embarrassment.
 
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Kehinde Aderemi, the Aare Onakankanfo said the invasion of Oyo town prison by bandits has exposed the poor security situation in the country. 

“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.”

Adams, however, blamed the Oyo state security service for its failure to beef up security in the prison.

“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 southwest and we cannot continue to live in fears,” he said.

Southwest socio-political group, Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum also condemned the prison break.
 
President of the Forum, Akin Malaolu said the new style of attacking prisons and state officers in the country is a confirmation that institutions such as barracks, schools, police formations and others like airport vicinities and rail tracks could no longer be secured by security institutions.
 
The forum emphatically blamed President Muhammadu Buhari, saying, “Apart from the fact that his security architecture and composition is wrong, lopsided and does not really reflect national outlook, never in the history of our country have we witnessed so much calamities offloaded on all sectors, including farmlands.”

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