By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
No fewer than 17 inmates who escaped when hoodlums masquerading as #EndSARS protesters attacked the Nigerian Correctional Centres in Benin by suspected hoodlums on Monday have returned back to the facilities.
An Official of the Nigerian Correctional Service who confirmed the incident, revealed that some of the inmates willingly turned themselves into the facilities while others were recaptured.
The Official who pleaded on anonymity told our Correspondent that the prisoners surrendered in the wake of the 48 hours ultimatum Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki on Wednesday, issued after he undertook the inspection of Benin Medium Correctional Centre in Oko and Benin Custodial Centre both in Benin City which came under attack on Monday last Week by hoodlums.
On Friday last Week, Governor Godwin Obaseki who was accompanied by some Heads of security agencies in the State extended the 48 hours moratorium he gave to the 1,888 fleeing inmates by one Week or face the wrath of the law.
He blamed the fatal attack of the Federal Government facilities on delay by President Muhammadu Buhari in deploying Nigerian military to provide back up support to the prison guards.
According to the Official of Nigerian Correctional Service, “We have are still collating names. On the average, we have 17 inmates. Some came back on their own, we recaptured a few others. We will provide more details before the end of this Week”.
Mr. Alex Ose, 40, a taxi driver who fled the prison during the attack where two persons died during a gun duel between Prisons armed guards and the hoodlums, is among the returnee inmate.
Narrating his ordeal to newsmen, Mr. Ose, said that he has been awaiting trial since 2014 when he was arrested for armed robbery in the Edo State capital of Benin.
The taxi driver who hailed from Esan, Edo State and a father of four, alleged that he decided to heed the call of Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki and surrender himself because he is innocent of the charges against him and was supremely sure that he will be vindicated by the court.
He however, confessed that the escape provided him a perfect opportunity to be home with his wife and children, adding that he ran in the ensuing bedlam when the protesters stormed the correctional centre and ordered them to escape.
The inmate pleaded: “I am innocent of the allegations against me. I was framed up. I am appealing to Governor Obaseki to look into my case. I have every opportunity to run but chose to surrender myself because I am not guilty. The governor should please look seriously into my case. I am innocent”.
A relative of one of the inmates who escaped during the jailbreak, said his brother is among the returnee.
The middle-aged man who lives in Egor Local Government area of the State however did not give his name.
He said, “immediately my brother arrived him on that night in the aftermath of the jailbreak, my father called for a family meeting the following day where they reviewed the issue.
After the meeting, our family encouraged him to returned back to White house (Benin Custodial Centre) on Sapele road to complete his jail sentence which will end in February next year.
“We bought new bucket, new towel, a pair of foot wear and gave him some money he complained about before”, he said.
Recall that Edo State Controller of Nigerian Correctional Service, Mr Babayo Maisanda on Wednesday last Week, said a total of 163 inmates have either been recaptured or secured of of 1818 inmates in the two facilities that were attacked.
He revealed that the Medium Security Correctional Centre in Oko, currently has 182 inmates with 28 of them from Farm Centre, while the MSCC, Sapele Road has 15 inmates.
Already, authorities of the enraged Nigerian Correctional Services, have mobilised strategic managers and men to clear the debris at the two Nigerian Correctional Centres after hoodlums descended heavily on facilities and free prisons inmates before setting one of the facilities ablaze.