The headquarters of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) in Abuja has disclosed that 35 inmates refused to escape from custody during the attack on a correctional centre in Owerri, the Imo State capital on Monday morning.
The NCoS said six other inmates have so far voluntarily returned to the facility after the incident.
In a statement issued by the NCoS public relations officer, Francis Enobore, the service confirmed the forceful release of a total of 1,844 inmates in custody during the attack.
He said that the attackers, who stormed the facility at about 0215hrs on Monday, gained entrance into the yard by using explosives to blast the administrative block, adding that the they arrived the centre in their large number in several Hilux pick-up vans and Sienna buses armed with sophisticated weapons.
Enobore added that the attackers immediately engaged the security personnel on duty in a fierce gun battle and eventually detonated the explosives to gain entrance.
The NCoS spokesman noted that the acting Controller-General of Corrections, John Mrabure, has ordered a comprehensive investigation into the incident while in collaboration with other security organisations, commenced a search and recover operations to recapture the fleeing inmates.
“While appealing to the good citizens of Imo State and indeed Nigerians to volunteer useful intelligence that will facilitate the recovery effort, the Ag. Controller-General wishes to assure that the security of custodial centres in the country remains sacrosanct.
“He equally directed all officers attached to custodial facilities to remain vigilant at this trying moment in our history. As at the last count, 6 inmates have so far voluntarily returned to the facility while 35 inmates refused to escape from custody during the attack,” he said.