Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state has ordered all the inmates who escaped from the Benin Correctional Centre, Sapele road, and Oko Medium Centre, to return on or before Friday this week for proper documentation.
Obaseki gave the order during the inspection of the vandalized Correctional Centres and other government institutions in the state affected by the violent outcome of the #EndSARS protest.
He said the escaped inmates should on or before Friday report to the Edo State Command of the Nigeria Police, Benin
The governor said those that voluntarily report back to the correctional centres would be freed from any punishment while those that failed and rearrested will be made to bear the full wrath of the laws.
“We know that some of the inmates may have been released as they have planned, and others just use the opportunity to escape.
“We are using this opportunity to appeal to all inmates in our Correctional Centres who have escaped to come back on their own before the close of business on Friday this week.
“If they come in and go to the Nigeria Police Force, Sapele road, to check in, nothing will be done to them.
“However, those who do not report back after Friday night, we have all their records and all their biometrics and we will go after them and ensure that they come back, else, appropriate actions will be meted against them,” he warned.
The governor further noted that the violent outcome of the protest on was not the style of #EndSARS protest, describing it as criminality.
“You will agree with me that this is not Tuesday style of #End SARS protest. This is sheer criminality.
“The protesters were focusing on reform of policing system in the country not to destroy government property, prisons and release inmates. So, you can tell that was criminal intention behind this act.
“#EndSARS protest in Edo was hijacked and they used the opportunity to come and release their colleagues held in our Correctional Centres.
“We condemn the act. Even the #EndSARS protesters will join us in condemning this dastardly act. Government cannot sit down, fold its arms and allow breakdown of laws and order in our society because everybody will be affected.
“Having undertaken this inspection and seen the level of destruction that has taken place, we will now move very swiftly and go after them,” he said.
Obaseki thanked the people of the state for being law-abiding in resisting the hoodlums.
While reiterating the state government support for individuals and citizens rights to express themselves legitimately to protest, he said that his government has nothing against the #EndSARS protest.
“What we have problem with is hooliganism and sheer brigandage. That we will not accept or tolerate in Edo State,” he added.
He opined that the officers of the Correctional services could not get back up to stop the attack on its facilities because the Federal government was not initially willing to deploy the military.
Earlier, the Controller of Correctional Services, Edo State Command, Babayo Maisadanda, said a total of 1818 inmates escaped from the two Correctional Centres, of which 163 have been recaptured.
Maisanda called for the urgent need to further secure and enhance repairs of the damaged facilities to secure the inmates already captured.
“It is pertinent to note that all efforts of securing our facilities for over six hours of the siege were solely by the men and officers of the correctional service,” he added.
On his part, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Celestine Okoye, said the police was doing its best to arrest some of the hoodlums that attacked the police facilities, Correctional Centres and other public and private institutions.
Okoye who explained that some arrests have been made over the attack of the Correctional facilities, assured that all the culprits would be arrested.
“They even tried to enter the police command headquarters but they were repelled. We are doing our best. We will get them, just calm down,” he assured.