The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has said that fugitives who escaped from the custodial centre in Owerri, the Imo State capital, will be granted amnesty if they return voluntarily.
He said this during the inspection of the centre on Tuesday after it was attacked by unknown gunmen.
Reports claim that over 1,880 inmates escaped during the attack while 36 stayed back.
The minister, therefore, stated that escape from custody is unlawful, and a crime but if those who escaped return willingly, they will be pardoned from a trial for unlawful escape.
However, they will still be made to face a trial for their actual offence and serve their jail term, if convicted.
He said, “Unlawful escape from custody is a crime but the government in its magnanimity will grant amnesty to prisoners who willfully return.
“They will no longer be charged with an unlawful escape but only for the initial crimes that took them to prison. So we urge all escapees to return before they are caught on the run.”
The minister further described the Monday jailbreak at Owerri Correctional Center and the razing of the Imo State Police Command headquarters as the worst in the recent history of the country.
The former Osun State governor who said that the attackers operated as terrorists, ordered the relocation of Owerri Recreational Club and other structures which he said were posing as a security threat to the premises of the Owerri Custodial Centre.
Aregbesola also vowed that those who perpetrated the attack would be apprehended and prosecuted.