The Minister for Interior, Rauf Aregbesola has condemned the attack on the National Correctional centre in Owerri and the forced release of 1,844 inmates in lawful custody.
The minister spoke when he visited the centre on Monday alongside the Vice president ,Yemi Osinbajo and the state Governor Hope Uzodimma.
While inspecting the extent of damage on the facility, the minister assured that additional security will be provided for all custodial centres from now on, for the safety of personnel and inmates and security of the facilities.
He assured that the Federal Government will react appropriately by going after the criminals responsible and making them face the full wrath of the law adding that no stone will be left unturned in fishing them out.
“Make no mistake, they will be hunted to the ends of the earth. They can only run, but they cannot hide. We shall bring them to justice, or in the alternative, take justice to them.
He however appealed to the escaped inmates to voluntarily return to custody noting that those who heed the call will be given amnesty on the possible consequences of escaping from lawful custody.
” I received with much sadness the report of the coordinated attacks on the Owerri Custodial Centre and the Imo State Command Headquarters of the Nigeria Police in the early hours of Monday April 5, 2021. Much havoc was wreaked at both places by the assailants, including the forced release of 1,844 inmates in lawful custody.
“I commiserate with the government and good people of Imo State and Imo State Commissioner of Police on these sad and unfortunate developments.
“During the #ENDSARS riots of late last year, there were coordinated attacks on custodial centres in Edo State, while an unsuccessful attempt was made in Lagos. Thus, a pattern of syndicated attacks on custodial centres is emerging.
“From the preliminary report on the attacks, it is the worst of such ever witnessed in living memory. Unprovoked attacks on the institutions of state, especially the law enforcement institutions is nothing short of a declaration of war on the Nigerian state and her people.
“Attacking police headquarters could only have been intentioned to cripple the Nigerian state and stop it from its duty of protecting the lives and property of the people. While the attack on a custodial centre and forcible freeing of inmates was meant to imperil law abiding citizen with possible harm that could come to them from hardened criminals on the loose.
“These acts therefore are capable of unleashing anarchy and gravely imperil the lives and property of the Nigerian people. The perpetrators are without doubt the enemies of the people and should be treated as such.
” It also has all the characteristics of terrorism, meant to put fear in the people, disrupt communal peace and create disaffection among the people.
“The Federal Government will react appropriately by going after these criminals and make them to face the full wrath of the law. We will leave no stone unturned in fishing them out. Make no mistake, they will be hunted to the ends of the earth. They can only run, but they cannot hide. We shall bring them to justice, or in the alternative, take justice to them.
“Additional security will be provided for all custodial centres from now on, for the safety of personnel and inmates and security of the facilities. Full investigation will also commence immediately.
“I urge all correctional officers to be vigilant and take the security of the facilities and the inmates seriously, more than ever before. We are at war with an enemy that you may not yet know but knows you inside out.
“I want to assure the good people of Imo State, and indeed all Nigerians, of the commitment of the Federal Government to the protection of lives and property and maintenance of law and order.
“I am also calling on citizens with useful information on the perpetrators of this dastardly acts and escaped inmates to inform the nearest law enforcement agency post nearest him or her. It is a patriotic duty to do so. The onus is on traditional rulers, religious leaders, community leaders, professional associations, family heads and others in positions of leadership and authority to make our communities incommodious to criminals. No criminal should have accommodation and protection in our communities.
“Let me assure you all once again that the Federal Government will get to the root of this incident and deploy the full security apparatus of government to deal with the criminals bent on undermining our security, peace and protection.