From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu
Tension and confusion best described the situation at the Enugu State Police Command on Monday following the escape from custody of over 38 criminal suspects.
Though the Enugu State Police Command announced it was only 17 that escaped, inside sources say the numbers of the escapee suspects were between 38 and 40.
They were, according to sources, criminal suspects kept in the police cells at the Enugu State Criminal Investigation Department, inside the Enugu State Police Headquarters.
The suspects, who allegedly escaped Sunday night, were being remanded for various offences.
Daily Sun gathered that the about 38 criminal suspects were remanded at the police cells by magistrate’s courts during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown due to congestion of the Nigerian Correctional Service prisons in the state.
Meanwhile, there are suspicions that the suspects may have been aided in their escape.
But in a statement issued at press time Monday by the Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Daniel Ndukwe (ASP), the Enugu Police Command said out of the 17 confirmed by the police to have escaped, five have been rearrested.
Giving the police account of what happened, the police spokesman said:
‘On 20/12/2020 at about 2130hrs a total of seventeen (17) suspects, mostly remanded in Police Custody by the Court for different offences, escaped from the Command’s state CID’s Cell after breaking the Cell’s key and resisting efforts of personnel on duty to restrain them. However, five (5) of them have been rearrested.
‘Consequently, the Commissioner of Police, CP Ahmad AbdurRahman has ordered an immediate discreet investigation and intense search to rearrest the remaining twelve (12) escapees.
‘He also directs the commencement of investigation to determine the culpability and punishment of any personnel found wanting during the unwarranted incidence. He further warns that such unbecoming lapses on the part of the personnel of the Command will not be tolerated.’
Ndukwe further said that the Commissioner had convened an emergency meeting of all Management Team members, Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers, Heads of Departments and directed them to deploy all the Command’s personnel and operational assets to emplace adequate security and ensure hitch-free movements and celebrations during the Christmas and New Year season.
He also said: ‘To this end, the CP, while reassuring commitment to provide adequate security during this festive season, has called on residents of the state and the general public to assist the Command with credible information that will lead to the re-arrest of the twelve (12) fleeing detainees.’
The Command also enjoined residents of the state and members of the public to promptly volunteer information or report any person(s) suspected to be the escapee at the nearest police station.