From Gyang Bere, Jos
No fewer than 11 persons were reportedly killed and 262 inmates escaped following the attack on Nigeria Correctional Service, Jos Custodial Centre by gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.
The Controller of the Jos Correctional Service Centre, Samuel Agunda, confirmed that nine fleeing inmates, their Armed Guard and one of the attackers lost their lives during the bloody operation.
He said the attackers are suspected to be Fulani herdsmen from Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area who attempted to free some of their men that were jailed some years ago.
“Some of the inmates who did not escape confirmed that the attackers were from Barkin-Ladi. The Police succeeded in rearresting 10 of the escapees and two others were brought back by their parents, bringing to 12 the total number of those recaptured.”
The Controller General of Nigeria Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa in a statement signed by Francis Enobore confirmed that nine persons were shot dead during the heavy attack.
“One of the gunmen trapped within the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Jos after invading the facility has been identified as one of those killed in the gun duel.
“The attackers who stormed the Custodial Centre at about 1720hrs on Sunday 28th November 2021 engaged the Nigerian Correctional Service(NCoS) armed squad personnel in a fierce gun battle before breaking into the yard.”
He noted with dismay that one of the NCoS Armed Squad personnel paid the supreme price in the encounter while 9 inmates also lost their lives.
“Another staff of the Service was shot in the hand and 6 inmates were also injured in the attack.”
He noted, “Some of the attackers and a total of 262 inmates escaped in the melee before reinforcement could come from sister services. 10 have so far been recaptured leaving 252 at large.”
Nababa condoled with the family and friends of the gallant officer who paid the ultimate price in the encounter, promising that the death will not be in vain as all the perpetrators will be hunted and made to face the full wrath of the law.
“I appreciate officers and men of other security agencies for the assistance in bringing the situation under control and assured members of the public that the safety of inmates including their care and support, will continue to be a top priority in his administration.”
He called for collaboration from patriotic individuals to apprehend the fleeing inmates as well as volunteering credible intelligence that could nip such ugly incidents in the bud.
He said the Jos Medium Security Custodial Centre as at the time of the attack, had 1,060 inmates comprising 560 pre-trial detainees and 500 convicts.
The Controller Nigeria Correctional Service, Jos Custodial Centre, Samuel Aguda added that one officer was shot and killed by the gunmen that attacked the facility.
“We thank the Police, the DSS who are our closes neighbours, they came to our rescue with Military men who came and were able to subdue the attackers.
“Some of the attackers escaped with gunshots, one was gun down and we are still counting our losses. We are still counting the number of inmates to know the actual number of escapees. Unfortunately, one of our armed squads, an Assistant Superintendent was killed.
When asked if he know the identity of the gunmen, he said, “I am not too sure but my men said they were speaking Fulani. They suspected Fulani herdsmen because of the mode of their conversation, that is according to eyewitnesses.
“Eight inmates who joined the attackers to attack us lost their lives. They were gunned down while they were running to escape. Also, the place where inmates records were kept was burnt down completely.”
He explained that some inmates that took advantage of the attack and attempted to escape have been recaptured by the security operatives following the stop and search operation launched immediately.
The Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Prof. Sonni Tyoden in the company of some Service Chiefs in the state also visited the scene at about 9 am for on-the-spot assessment of the situation.
Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong condemned in strong terms the attack on the Medium Security Custodial Centre when gunmen reportedly stormed the facility in large numbers with sophisticated weapons.
Lalong in a statement signed by Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr Makut Simon Macham, while condemning the unfortunate incident, however, praised the gallantry of officers and men of the Jos Custodial Centre who rose to the occasion to thwart the plans of the criminals whose mission was to facilitate the escape of inmates and also cause destruction to the facility.
Lalong also praised the quick reaction of other security agencies including the Police, Operation Safe Haven, DSS, NSCDC and Operation Rainbow who responded swiftly to the situation and took charge of the general area leading to the entrapment of the assailants as well as the arrest of fleeing inmates.
While describing the sad event as one too many in the nation’s correctional system, Lalong said it was high time a holistic approach is applied in bringing such attacks and jailbreaks to an end in order to guarantee the safety of inmates, correctional officers, and the larger society from criminals who choose to attack the very essence of Nigeria’s legal system by disrupting law and order.
He directed an immediate boosting of security measures around all Custodial facilities in the State and assured that the State Government will work with the Federal Government in every way possible to ensure that all Correctional Facilities in the State are protected from such attacks.