By Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
More than 80 prisoners who escaped from the Owerri Custodial Centre have voluntarily returned, The Nation learnt on Wednesday.
A source at the Nigerian Correctional Service disclosed this to our correspondent.
He said: “About 17 of them returned on Tuesday and on Wednesday, we saw more than 20 returning back.
“But they are mainly those on awaiting trial, those who have less prison term and those who are about to complete their terms, have returned so far”.
About 42 of the inmates returned as of Monday evening, taking the total number of returnees to 80.
”The problem we are having, and this is not peculiar to the jail break here, is that none of the hardened and condemned inmates (HCI) who escaped has returned.
“This is understandable because it will take a miracle for a person who knows that his execution can take place any moment, to return after his freedom was given to him freely by those who broke into the facility,” the source said.
Gunmen whom the police said were members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had attacked the Correctional facility and freed 1,844 inmates on Monday.
It is expected with the amnesty announced by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, more of the escapees would return back to the facility to continue their terms.
The source added: “Most of the returnee inmates were escorted back by their parents, lawyers and relations.
“We are expecting that more will return by the weekend.
“Most of them want to return but they’re afraid that they might be manhandled by some security agents.
“We have very good inmates whose characters we can vouch for. That’s why we need to bring back the parole policy.”
When contacted, the public relations officer of Owerri Correctional Service, James Madugba, confirmed more escapees were still returning to the centre.
He however said he could not confirm the number of prisoners that had returned so far.