Edo mulls pardon for inmates ‘who stayed behind during jailbreaks’

The Edo State Government is considering granting pardon to inmates that stayed behind during the jailbreaks in the two Medium Security Correctional Centres in Benin City when the EndSARS project was hijacked by hoodlums.

The state governor, Godwin Obaseki, also said the government will place a bounty for useful information that can lead to the re-arrest of escapees.

The Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) disclosed after the jailbreaks in Benin on October 18, that 1,993 inmates escaped from its centres located along Sapele Road and Airport Road in Benin.

It stated that 25 inmates voluntarily returned to the correctional centres one week after the jailbreak.

However, receiving an 11-member committee on the re-arrest of the escapee prisoners on Friday in Benin City, Mr Obaseki noted that ”those who stayed back and refused to participate in the jailbreak might be pardoned,” adding, “Please, let me have their list and see if we can consider the option of pardon.”

According to the governor, “We will make available a huge sum of money that will serve as incentives for the public to volunteer credible and vital information that will lead to the re-arrest of the escaped inmates from Benin correctional facilities.

“We would make available vehicles for this committee for easy movement during this season to facilitate their job.”

Mr Obaseki also said the state government will place a bounty for useful information that can lead to the re-arrest of escapees.

The governor disclosed this on Friday when he received members of the 11-member committee on the re-arrest of the escapee prisoners led by Deputy Controller Corrections (DCC), Usifo Joseph, who was at the Government House, Benin City, to brief the governor on the extent of work done.

Mr Obaseki appealed to the committee to ensure that they put in their best and ensure that all escapee prisoners from the correctional facilities are re-arrested.

Mr Obaseki said a website will soon be launched with detailed information on the identities of the escapees with their pictures displayed.

He noted, “We would like to have the list of the most dangerous ones among them. I would like to strengthen the effectiveness of the strike force of the committee.

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“We urge landlords and landladies to cooperate with the committee and Edo State Government by providing vital and valuable information that will lead to the arrest of the escaped prisoners. Any landlord or landlady harbouring any of these inmates will be immediately prosecuted.

“We would not rest until we re-arrest every inmate that escaped from the Benin Correctional facilities. Additional charges would be prepared to add to the already existing charges of the escapees,” the governor said.

Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, Mr Joseph, said 1,829 inmates escaped from Benin correctional facilities ”and 85 of them have been re-arrested from different parts of the country.”

“We have re-captured 85 of the escapees and more have been captured and are with the Commissioner of Police and they will be returned to the correctional centres after proper identification,” Mr Joseph said.

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