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.
According to the minister, the controller-general of NCoS is currently monitoring the situation and a ‘crisis response centre’ has been activated.
He added that a special task force has been mobilised to recapture the fleeing inmates while an inter-agency security task force was on the trail of the gunmen who attacked the facility.
Aregbesola urged gave an assurance that the situation was under control., saying security forces would find the attackers and bring them to justice.
“We shall leave no stone unturned to bring them back to custody,” he stated. “We are also putting INTERPOL on notice with their details, in case any of them attempts fleeing outside our shores.”
He urged the people, especially the communities around the custodial facility, to be vigilant and report any strange and suspicious persons or activities to the nearest law enforcement agency.
To the fleeing inmates, the minister warned that “escaping from lawful custody is a serious criminal offence. Law enforcement agencies and citizens are lawfully empowered to use all necessary means to arrest and bring you to justice.
“You should, therefore, know what you are up against. You will, however, be eligible for mitigation if you wilfully surrender yourselves at the nearest law enforcement office.”
Aregbesola stressed that the NCoS would not be cowed by elements seeking to compromise the security of the nation and promised to provide more updates at the end of the preliminary assessment.