At least 240 inmates have escaped the Medium Security Custodial Centre (MSCC) in Kabba, Kogi State, following an attack by yet to be identified gunmen.
The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) spokesman, Mr Francis Enobore confirmed the incident in a communique on Monday, stating that the attack took place at about midnight on Sunday.
According to him, the attackers in their numbers arrived at the custodial centre heavily armed and immediately engaged the guards in a fierce gun battle.
Mr Enobore further disclosed that the Comptroller–General, Haliru Nababa has ordered a recapture procedure to be activated immediately and detailed investigation carried out even as he leads a team to assess the situation.
The Comptroller-General also appealed to the general public to furnish security operatives with useful intelligence that will assist in recapturing the escapees.
Kabba MSCC was established in 2008 with a capacity of 200.
As of the time of the invasion, 294 inmates were in custody out of which 224 were pre-trial detainees and 70 convicted inmates.
Soldier, Policeman Killed, Two NCoS Officials Missing
Two security operatives were killed when gunmen invaded the Kabba Medium Security Custodial Centre in Kogi State, authorities have said.
Similarly, two officers of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS), have not been accounted for, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, Sola Fasure, disclosed in a statement on Monday.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who affirmed that he had been briefed by the Controller General of the NCoS, Haliru Nababa, described the incident as unfortunate.
Giving more details regarding the event, Aregbesola explained that security officers – comprising 15 soldiers, 10 police officers, and 10 armed guards of the NCoS – on duty “fought gallantly” to repel the attack.
“Regrettably, two officers of the correctional service are yet to be accounted for while one soldier and a policeman lost their lives during the attack,” he said.
The Kabba Custodial facility had 294 inmates as of the time of the attack, many of whom escaped after the gunmen used explosives to destroy three sides of the perimeter fence.
However, 28 inmates refused to escape and some of those that fled have voluntarily returned to the facility as of Monday morning.
The latest jailbreak comes a few months after gunmen attacked the Nigerian Correctional Service and the police headquarters in Imo State, freeing 1,844 inmates, after which the hoodlums set the facilities ablaze.
The gunmen also razed the Imo State Police Command headquarters and burnt almost all the vehicles parked at the command’s headquarters. No fewer than 50 cars were set ablaze in the process.
A similar attack was carried out at the correctional centre in Ubiaja, Edo State; however, the jailbreak was foiled by officers at the facility.
The inmates, after breaking out from their cells, engaged the correctional officers in a fight, leaving some of the security personnel injured.
It took a combined effort by officers from the Nigerian Army, 4th brigade, and the Edo Command of the Nigeria Police Force, to eventually overpower the inmates and return them to their cells.