Cajetan Mmuta, Benin
A total of 286 out of the 1,900 inmates who escaped from the Oko Medium Correctional Centre and Sapele Road Correctional Centre, otherwise known as ‘White House’, in Benin, the Edo State capital, have had a change of heart and have returned to the two centres.
The returnees were among the large number set free by hoodlums who hijacked the peaceful #EndSARS protest in Benin on October 17 this year.
About 1, 614 are still expected to return to the two centers to continue with their jail terms.
Twenty five of the runaway inmates had voluntarily returned to the correctional centres one week after the break, 38 were re-arrested by the police in different parts of the state after commiting various offences following their escape while another 187 returned later.
Sources close to the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCS) in Benin, who pleaded that his name should not be mentioned in print, disclosed that the police and prison officials have since mounted a manhunt for the escapees.
He said that the manhunt became necessary following the expiration of the one week ultimatum for the fleeing inmates to return, which was later extended by another one week by the state government.
The source noted that the authorities are determined to capture the runway prisoners and bring them back to justice
According to the NCS officer: “We have a way of arresting runway prisoners. We have swung into action following the expiration of the two week ultimatum by the governor. The earlier they return on their own, the better. Those who are re-arrested will be retried and sentenced to extra seven years if convicted. It is in their own interest to return even with the expiration of the ultimatum.”
He added that the NCS has been monitoring their movement as a result of information being received on their whereabouts.