…says armoury ‘looted’

The Federal Government has said that at least 1,993 inmates escaped from the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) Custodial Centres in Benin City and Oko in Edo State during Monday’s protest in the ancient  city.

It said the violent attacks had also culminated in the carting away of assorted weapons from the centres’ armouries.

The disclosure was made in a statement by the spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Mohammed Manga.

This is a fallout of ongoing protests by #EndSARS agitators, which appears to have been hijacked by suspected hoodlums in some cities.

Recall that the NCoS had, in its immediate response to the jailbreak, said it was yet to ascertain the number of fleeing inmates from the attack.

According to the statement: “They (hoodlums) came in large numbers, bearing dangerous weapons and attacked the officers on guard duty.

“They were unmistakable on their mission, which was to force the cells open, free the inmates and carry out other nefarious activities.

“The situation has been brought under control while security in and around the custodial centres nationwide has been beefed up. Investigation has commenced to determine the full impact of the attack.”

While recognising the fact that peaceful protest was legitimate and guaranteed as a fundamental right of citizens, the government frowned on attacks on a custodial centre or any other infrastructure for that matter, saying such  “is a criminal act which detracts from the advertised objectives of the movement and capable of imputing impure motives to its drivers”.

This was as it reiterated the fact that the custodial centres remained high security zones, adding that  “the primary duty of the institution is to keep custody of convicted criminals and awaiting trial suspects; this comes before their reformation. It is integral to the justice administration system.”

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