From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja, George Onyejiuwa, Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
The Federal Government has described the level of destruction at the correctional facility in Imo State as sad.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stated this, yesterday, when he, along with Governor Hope Uzodimma, Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of State Budget and Planning, Clem Agba and senior government officials of the state, visited the correctional facility.
Osinbajo, through his verified Twitter handle @ProfOsinbajo tweeted: “I was sad to see the level of destruction at the correctional facility in Imo State.
“The path of violence can only lead to disaster. It is easy to take peace for granted but we need not learn the value of peace through the horrible crucible of war,” he said.
Meanwhile, Aregbesola assured fugitives who escaped from the custodial centre amnesty if they return.
He said unlawful escape from custody was a crime but assured that wilful returnees will be exempted from trial for unlawful escape but not for the actual crimes for which they were initially convicted.
He advised the fugitives to return and vowed to ensure those involved in the attack were brought to book.
… Be ruthless against IPOB –Ex-IGP
Immediate past Inspector General of Police (IGP), Adamu Mohammed, yesterday, called on the officers and men of the Nigeria Police to use brute force against members of the Indigenous People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network (IPOB/ESN), who he described as outlaws.
Adamu, who was at the Imo State Police Command Headquarters to assess the damage caused by the gunmen, said the officers and men of the Nigeria Police must not allow insurgents and criminals free reign in the country.
The IGP, who was miffed by the level of destruction at the police command, said those who delight in attacking police formation should be ruthlessly dealt with.
“The attackers will not go scot free. You should deal ruthlessly with those that takes delight in attacking security agencies. Don’t allow then to exist, they should be annihilated from the society because they are criminals. And from now, henceforth, you have to change your tactics to curtail their activities.
“The local authorities should feel concerned about the activities of these outlaws and there is the need for all of us to work together to fish out those criminals by providing the police with information of their activities, their sponsors so that we can effectively end their illegal operations.
“Those who were released from the Owerri correctional service centre are IPOB and ESN members. Don’t hide them because if you do, you may also fall victim of the attack,” he said.
Meanwhile, the IGP said the police high command would commence renovation of the Imo State Police Command Headquarters and that the burnt operational vehicles would also be replaced.
“We will commence the renovation of the damaged offices and the operational vehicles will also be replaced so that officers and men of the command will continue with their duties. We will not be deterred by the attacks of criminals,” he said.
• 36 vehicles burnt
Imo Commissioner of Police, Nasiru Mohammed, said 36 vehicles were burnt during the attack with 68 suspects escaping from detention cells.
He regretted recent attacks on the command’s divisions in Obowo and Isiala Mbano local government areas of the state and called for continued support from the IGP.
“A part of the Criminal Investigation Department was set ablaze and there was one casualty who is currently receiving treatment.
“One inmate died in the stampede at the correctional centre. Out of 1,844 inmates who escaped, 16 have been re-arrested,” he said.
Governor Hope Uzodimma said government would continue to complement efforts of the police in fighting crime and described the IGP’s visit as a healing balm.
“We must not condone attacks by criminals on government. Police must not be compromised so that the integrity of government will remain intact,” the governor said.
Again, gunmen attack police station in Imo
Barely 48 hours after gunmen attacked the police headquarters and correctional centre in Imo State, Daily Sun gathered another divisional police post in Ehime Mbano Local Government Area was attacked.
The incident occurred few hours after the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, and other government functionaries visited the state to inspect the level of damage on the attacked security facilities.
A witness revealed that the gunmen made straight to the detention rooms on arrival and set all the suspects free before setting the station ablaze.
Police Public Relation Officer, Orlando Ikeokwu, could not confirm the report as at the time of this report.
There have been several cases of attacks of the police formations in Mbano in the last two months.
Some of the stations razed are Obowo, Abo Mbaise, Ihitte/Uboma and Isiala Mbano divisional police headquarters, leading to the killing of three officers and while others were injured.