The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, said yesterday that the situation in Abolongo custodial centre in Oyo State had been brought under control even though the attackers used grenades to overpower security forces around the centre.
He said that some of the inmates who escaped had been captured while security operatives were on the trail of others.
Aregbesola, who said he had been briefed on the incident by the Controller-General of Corrections, regretted that some inmates escaped, while others returned to the centre on their own.
He said the attack lasted about 20 minutes.
The minister, who spoke through his media aide, Sola Fasure, said the attack was launched at about 10 pm on Friday and was carried out by a large number of heavily armed gunmen.
He said: “Armed squad unit members of the Nigerian Correctional Service and other security agencies on guard at the facility engaged the attackers in a gun duel that lasted for 20 minutes before they were overpowered.
“The attackers subsequently used grenades and other explosives to gain access into the awaiting trial section of the facility and set free many of the awaiting trial inmates. Other sections of the facilities were left untouched.
“The Controller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service has been on the situation immediately the incident occurred.
“The Minister of Interior has been briefed on the attack. He is monitoring the situation.
“He has assured members of the public to go about their normal businesses as the situation is under control.
“He also requires members of the public to report any suspicious movement or any sign of the escaped inmates and the gunmen in and around the vicinity to the nearest security post around them.
“Security agencies are on the trail of the escaped inmates, while a joint security services manhunt has been launched immediately for the apprehension of the assailants.
“This has led to the capture of some of the inmates while others returned voluntarily.
“However, those who are on the run are advised to turn themselves in, as escape from lawful custody is a serious offence. The full weight of the law will be brought on them when arrested.”