On Monday, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and six states bordering Kogi State were filled with worry.
Following a gunman attack on a correctional facility in Kabba, Kogi on Sunday night, which resulted in the escape of 240 convicts, the fear led to increased security.
The whereabouts of the convicts, some of whom are dangerous offenders who have been sentenced to life in prison, are unknown, raising fears that they may be sent to neighboring states.
The Kogi administration has also upped security to red alert, hoping to learn more about the escapees’ whereabouts.
Police in Kwara, Edo, Osun, Ekiti and Niger have taken measures to secure the states and boundaries.
In the FCT, Force Police spokesman Frank Mba, a commissioner of Police, said the force had activated all its operational and intelligence platforms in pursuit of the escapees.
All hands were on deck, Mba informed one of our reporters, to re-arrest the escaping convicts.
According to him, the force would work with the NCS to prevent further law and order breakdowns.
“We have expertise dealing with cases of this sort, and we will dive deep into our operational experience and tools to ensure they are rearrested,” a police spokesman said.
“We have activated all our operational and intelligence platforms in pursuit of the escapees or suspects, as well as in help and support of the correctional services,” Mba added, urging inmates to turn themselves in freely.
“We are making all of our intelligence and operational services available to the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCS), and we will work with the NCS and other patriotic citizens of this country to ensure that those suspects are apprehended as soon as possible,” he said.
“In that vein, we advise the suspects to surrender willingly or face the consequences.”
The Kwara Police Command has closed its borders to prevent any of the escapees from entering the state.
Police officers in Kwara and Kogi are working together to apprehend the escapees and their accomplices, according to command spokesperson Ajayi Okasanmi.
Ajayi said: “The command is combat-ready to ensure there is no spillover. That’s why all our borders between Kogi and Kwara are now closed.”
In Osun, Commissioner of Police, Mr Olawale Olokode met with the Controller of the Custodial Centre in the State Command of the NCS, Olanrewaju Amoran.
The Command said its men have been put on the red alert to apprehend criminals, especially those who escaped from the Kabba custodial centre.
Spokesperson of the Command Yemisi Opalola, a Superintendent of Police, confirmed to our correspondent that the CP’s meeting with the Controller of the Custodial Centre was on how to fortify security around the facility in the State of the Living Spring.
The Edo Commissioner of Police, Phillip Ogbadu, ordered Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) and other policemen in the state to be on the alert over the jailbreak in Kogi.
Edo Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Bello Kontongs, quoted the CP as saying that patrols in the 18 local government areas of Edo had been intensified to prevent the invasion of the state by escapees from Kogi.
Ogbadu also tasked all policemen in the state and the various police formations in Edo to closely monitor and check suspicious movements across the three senatorial districts.
He urged Edo locals to provide police with relevant and timely information about criminals in their midst, particularly the Kogi jailbreak escapees. The police chief vowed to keep the identity of the informants a secret.
In order to apprehend the escaping inmates from Kogi, the Ekiti State Police Command stated it has tightened up border security.
Sunday Abutu, a police spokesman, told our reporter over the phone that police officers had been put on high alert to arrest the fleeing inmates.
operatives and covert intelligence professionals have been stationed in all boundary areas, according to Abutu.
He said: “We are working in collaboration with our counterparts in Kogi to ensure the arrest of the fleeing inmate. Our men are already in the towns that share a boundary with Kogi, Ondo, and Kwara states.
“Security at the border towns has been beefed up and surveillance intensified to prevent the inmates from seeking refuge in Ekiti.”
Officers and men at the Niger State Police Command have been put on red alert.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Abiodun Wasiu, a DSP, said officers and men in Lapai axis were on the lookout and on patrol to ensure that no prison escapee find their way into Niger state.
He said: “The Command is aware of the effect this might have in the state because we share a common boundary with Kogi.
“The Command has therefore taken some proactive measures and has placed its officers and patrol teams across the state on red alert and being watchful of strange faces who might be wandering around as visibility policing is reinvigorated.
“Members of the public were equally admonished to be more vigilant and be security conscious in our various communities, by informing security agencies whenever something strange is observed in their localities.”
Some residents in Lapai Local Government Area, the route to Kogi from Niger, said they were confident that the escapees cannot find their way into the state.
Baba Musa, one of the residents in Gulu, said for the escapees to be able to make it to Niger State, they would have to board a boat that will open them up to suspicion.
He said: “Everyone is aware of what happened in Kogi and we are all on alert and we are ready to question or report any strange face we see coming into the state through the river. We do not doubt that if anyone tries to come in, we will know.”
He said that those who ride the boats have also been put on the alert.
“I have noticed more security presence today which means that the Police are also on the alert. So, we have nothing to fear,” he said.
Security personnel deployed in the Ondo North Senatorial District have been put on the red alert over the possible influx of fleeing inmates from Kogi.
It was learnt that Amotekun Corps have also been deployed to strengthen security.
The Amotekun Commander, Chief Adetunji Adeleye, said his operatives, including the intelligence units, had been alerted to the Kogi jailbreak.
Adeleye assured that any fleeing inmate from Kogi would be arrested and sent back.
He stated that Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu had previously tasked the corps to watch out for fleeing bandits and insurgents from other parts of the country.
Ondo Police spokesman, Fumilayo Odunlami, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, said policemen at the Ondo boundary towns with Kogi State had been on the alert.
Odunlami urged the locals to report any suspicious movement of persons or any strange persons in their community.
Credit: The Nation