Gunmen have attacked a correctional prison in Oyo, Southwest Nigeria, freeing hundreds of inmates, officials said on Saturday, October 23.
Olanrewaju Anjorin, a spokesman of the Oyo Correctional Centre in Oyo state, in a press release on Saturday, stated that the gunmen attacked the facility late on Friday night.
While he did not readily give the number of inmates that were freed, official reports indicated that, about 575 inmates were freed by the gunmen. In the intervening time, he stated that an investigation has been opened.
“I can’t ascertain the number of people that escaped or that were recaptured, but I am telling you that the security has been beefed up around the custodial centre and the town.”Olanrewaju Anjorin
Francis Enobore of the Nigerian Prisons Service, also confirmed the incident and said he was on his way to the facility when he learned of the attack.
Friday’s attack is the third this year, 2021 in Nigeria, where jailbreaks are becoming more frequent and police only capture a fraction of those who escape. It was reported in July this year that, at least 4,307 inmates have escaped from prisons since 2017, based on compiled media reports.
In 2021 alone, more than 2,000 inmates were freed in two earlier jailbreaks. On September 13, 240 inmates were freed after gunmen attacked a detention facility in North-Central, Kogi state with explosives. Moreover, on April 5, at least 1,800 were freed in the South-East Imo state, when another facility was also blown up.
Most of the recent jailbreaks in Nigeria seem be connected to activities of extremist. All the attacks are carried out in a similar manner with the use of explosives and powerful guns, thereby overpowering the prison guards.
However, authorities have managed to re-arrest some of the escaped inmates, sometimes in neighbouring states, while others returned willingly.
According to reports, a good number of those who have escaped in such attacks are yet to be convicted and still awaiting on trial.
Nigerian prisons hold 70,000 inmates but only about 20,000, or 27 percent, have been convicted, according to government’s data. Human rights groups say prisons are often overcrowded and legal procedures inefficient.
Gunmen Activities on the Rise
The incidents of gunmen activities in Nigeria are on the rise. It can be recalled that two traditional rulers met their untimely death as dozens more have been wounded at Nnenasa in Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, Nigeria’s South-East, after gunmen opened fire on them, killing them instantly.
In a separate incidence, gunmen killed at least 43 people in an attack in northern Nigeria’s Sokoto state, the Governor’s office reported. Sokoto Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, revealed that the assault began at a weekly market in Goronyo.
However, this latest episode of jailbreak poses security risk to neighbouring countries including Ghana. Ghanaian authorities must be on high alert as it was recently reported that nine Nigerians suspected to be part of the 1,800 inmates, who broke jail at the Owerri Correctional Centre in the southeastern part of the federation, was arrested in Ada, Ghana.
It was reported that the hardened criminals devised a clever means to outwit border security personnel by using a boat on the Volta River through Ada to enter Ghana.
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