The Federal Government has said that no fewer than 1,993 inmates in Benin City and Oko prisons were freed by hoodlums on Monday, while also carting away weapons in the armoury.
According to a statement by Mohammed Manga, Director of Press in the Federal Ministry of Interior, the hoodlums under the guise of #EndSARS came in large number, bearing dangerous weapons and attacked the officers on guard duty.
He said they were unmistakable on their mission, which was to force the cells open, free the inmates and carry out other nefarious activities.
“The situation has been brought under control while security in and around the custodial centres nationwide has been beefed up. Investigation has commenced to determine the full impact of the attack.
“Peaceful protest is legitimate and guaranteed as a fundamental right of citizens, operating as individuals and groups. However, attacking a custodial centre is a criminal act which detracts from the advertised objectives of the movement and capable of imputing impure motives to its drivers.
It must be reiterated that the custodial centres are high security zones. The primary duty of the institution is to keep custody of convicted criminals and awaiting trial suspects; this comes before their reformation. It is integral to the justice administration system.
“We urge the #ENDSARS protesters to remain peaceful, embrace dialogue, screen their rank and file and flush out those with criminal intents and, more importantly, steer clear of the custodial centres.
“This is to assure Nigerians, especially Edo State residents, that in conjunction with other security agencies, we have commenced the tracking and apprehension of all the escaped inmates before they do any harm. Anyone who notices any person or persons that might have escaped from the custodial centres should, as a patriotic duty, inform the nearest security agency,” Manga stated.