The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has issued ultimatum to fleeing inmates from the Medium Security Correctional Centres (MSCC) on Sapele Road and at Oko, Airport Road, to return to the prisons before Friday, October 23rd, 2020.
Obaseki gave the ultimatum while inspecting the Correctional facilities on Sapele Road and at Oko, in Benin City, the state capital on Wednesday.
Obaseki was accompanied on the inspection of the affected facilities by the Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu; Secretary to State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq., Chief of Staff to the Governor, Ethan Uzamere, and DIG Celestine Okoye, among others.
Obaseki said the level of destruction in the state was never in the spirit of the #ENDSARS protests, but the action of criminal elements who have now caused unrest in the state.
“This is not in the spirit of #ENDSARS protests. The protesters were focused on reforming the police system not to destroy prisons and release inmates. You can tell that there was some criminal intention behind these acts.”
Obaseki said the #ENDSARS protests in Edo State were hijacked by criminals and some inmates were released in the process, noting, “We condemn the act wholeheartedly and even the #ENDSARS protesters have joined us in condemning this act. Government can’t sit down, fold its hands and allow a breakdown of law and order in our society because everyone will be affected.
He added: “We know some of the inmates have been released but we appeal to all inmates who have escaped to come back on their own before the close of business on Friday. They should report themselves back as nothing will be done to them but failure to do that, we will come after them as we have their records.”
Assuring of the government’s support to the police authorities to restore order and normalcy, the governor said, “Having undertaken this inspection and seeing the level of destruction, we will now move swiftly into action. The Inspector General of Police, (IGP), understanding the gravity of what has happened in Edo State, sent DIG Celestine Okoye to come and assist us in putting the situation under control.
“Our government will continue to support our people to have the right to express themselves legitimately. We don’t have any problem with #ENDSARS protests but we are against hooliganism and brigandage.”
Controller of Correctional Services, Edo State Command, Babayo Maisanda, who took the governor and top security agencies round the damaged custodial centers, said the total number of escapees is 1818.
He said the number of recaptured and secured inmates is 163, noting that MSCC New (Oko) has 182 inmates, with 28 of them from Ogba Farm centre, while MSCC Benin (old) has 15 inmates.
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“We were overwhelmed by these hoodlums who were armed. We heard of their coming and informed other security agencies to come to our aid but didn’t see them. We were eventually overpowered,” he said.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Celestine Okoye, urged the people of Edo State to remain calm as the police are on top of the situation, as some arms have been recovered and 12 hoodlums arrested.
“We have recovered some of the arms and we are after the hoodlums and promise to arrest them. We have already arrested 12 of them. We are appealing to Edo people to calm down as we are doing our best to maintain law and order in the state.”
The governor and his entourage also visited the MSCC New (Oko), MSCC Benin (Old), Idogbo Police Station, EDPA building, Emotan Gardens Estate, Upper Sokponba in Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area.