By Nefishetu Yakubu
Benin, Oct. 21, 2020 Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo on Wednesday issued ultimatum to fleeing inmates of the Benin Custodial Centre on Sapele road and the Oko Maximum Security Correctional Centre on Airport road to return to the prisons before Friday, Oct. 23, 2020.
Obaseki gave the ultimatum while inspecting the correctional centres and the police facilities destroyed by hoodlums in Benin.
Obaseki was accompanied on the inspection of the distroyed facilities by the deputy governor Philip Shaibu, Secretary to State Government, Osarodion Ogie, Chief of staff Ethan Ozamere, DIG Celestine Okoye, and Commissioner of Police Johnson Kokumo among others.
Obaseki said the distructions carried out in the state was never in the spirit of EndSARS but an act carried out by criminal elements.
“This is sheer criminality while the real protesters were focusing on the reform of our policing system and not to destroy government property, destroy prisons, and release inmates.
“We condemn the act wholeheartedly and we expect that even the EndSARS protesters would join us in condemning this dastardly act.
“The government cannot sit down and fold its arms to allow the breakdown of law and order in our society because everybody would be affected.
“Having undertaken the assessment and seen the extent of destruction that has taken place, we would now move swiftly into action.
“Fortunately, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, understanding the gravity of what has happened in Edo has asked the DIG of Police, Celestine Okoye, to come to Benin to put the situation under control.
“We are also fortunate that the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces has allowed the military to join the Police in stabilising the situation to bring things under control.
“What we have a problem with are hooliganism and sheer brigandage and that we will not accept or tolerate in Edo State,” he said.
Obaseki used the opportunity to appeal to all the fleeing inmates to come back on their own before the close of business on Friday.
“If they come in and go to the Nigeria Police Force Command headquarters in Benin nothing will be done to them,” he added.
According to him, those who do not return after Friday night, we have all their records, we have their biometrics, appropriate sanctions will be meted out against them.
Also speaking, Mr Babayo Maisanda, Controller of Correction, Edo Command, said 1,818 inmates were still at large, while 163 were recaptured.
He said the Oko Correctional Centre currently has 182 inmates with 28 of them from Farm Centre adding that the Custodial centre on Sapele Road has 15 inmates.
Maisanda said there was an urgent need to further secure and enhance repairs of the damaged facilities to secure the inmates already captured.
“It is pertinent to note that all efforts at securing our facilities for over six hours of the siege were solely by the men and officers of the correctional service.
“Currently, 10 officers who sustained various degrees of life-threatening injury are receiving treatments at various hospitals in Benin City.”
He expressed appreciation for the concern shown by Gov. Obaseki and called for his assistance and support in this period to keep the prison system operational.
Also, Mr Okoye, a DIG of Police, said the police were doing their best to arrest some of the hoodlums that attacked the police facilities.
Okoye said, “Some arrests were made, we will still get them. They even tried to enter the police command headquarters but they were repelled.