About 175 inmates of Olokuta Medium Prison in Akure, Ondo State early Sunday escaped from the facility when gunmen numbering about 30 attacked the prison located on Ondo Road in the outskirt of the state capital.
It was gathered that the gunmen, who arrived the prison premises located few meters from the headquarters of the 32 Artillery Brigade, Owena Barracks around 12:05 a.m, started shooting sporadically.
Before they arrived the main entrance, the gunmen were said to have destroyed street lights, which led to the prison from the main road with bullets during which one of the officers on duty was hit by a stray bullet. The walls of the prison were equally riddled with bullets.
The gunmen were said to have broken the wall leading to the inmates cells with grenades when their attempts to blow off the main entrance was unsuccessful.
All the inmates at the prison were said to have escaped with the gunmen. Speaking with journalists, the Prison Comptroller for the state command, Mr Tunde Olayiwola, described the attack as unusual, saying the authority would soon bring the culprits to book.
Olayiwola said the incident happened around 12: 05 a.m. just as he dispelled the rumour that the attack was masterminded by the Boko Haram sect.
He said: “We cannot specifically identify those behind the attack, but the attack is unusual. One of our officers was injured during the attack and he is in the hospital right now receiving treatment but I am assuring you that those behind the attack will brought to book.”
The comptroller said the attack was the first of its kind in the history of the prison, saying the prison had not experienced such an attack since its establishment.
However, unconfirmed report said some of the prisoners, who were set free by the assailants have already been arrested by security agents in the state.
It was gathered that some of the prisoners were picked by the security agents at some of the brothels within the capital city and neighbouring villages near the prison, where some of the prisoners were identified and arrested.
As at 8.30 a.m. when THISDAY visited the prison, the situation had been brought under control as men of various security agencies were moved into the facility to help restore order.
The state commissioner of police, Mr. Patrick Dukumor, was one of the early callers while some government functionaries led by the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), also visited the prison.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) for the state command, Mr. Wole Ogodo, said the command had contacted the prison authority, stressing that the information gathered on the incident was still sketchy.
Ogodo noted that the incident has nothing to do with terrorism and called on the people of the state to continue with their normal duty assuring them that the police would continue to protect lives and properties of the people of the state.
He said all the security agents within the state were working to track the criminals, adding that the hoodlums will be brought to book.