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FG promises to forgive escaped Imo prison inmates if they surrender

The government says amnesty will be granted to those who surrender.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola [Twitter/@raufaregbesola]

A total of 1,844 inmates escaped when a large number of gunmen attacked the facility in the early hours of Monday, April 5, 2021.

The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) revealed that 35 inmates refused to escape and six of those that escaped already returned by Monday afternoon.

While visiting the facility on Tuesday, April 6, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, urged others to return voluntarily before they are arrested.

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Noting that unlawful escape from custody is a crime for which they can be tried separately from their original crimes, the former governor said amnesty will be granted to those that surrender.

"They will no longer be charged with 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," he said.

The gunmen also set fire to the headquarters of Imo State Police Command in a twin attack that President Muhammadu Buhari described as an act of terrorism.

The president, who is currently away in London for a routine medical check-up, directed security and intelligence agencies to fully mobilise and 'go after the terrorists'.

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The Nigeria Police Force has blamed the separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for the attack.

The group was designated a terrorist organisation by the government in 2017 after its members were involved in tense standoffs with Army troops.

The group's Eastern Security Network (ESN) has been the alleged perpetrator of a string of attacks on security forces that have left dozens of officers dead in the southeast region over the past few weeks.

IPOB spokesperson, Emma Powerful, has strongly distanced the group from the attack.

He said IPOB was formed on the principle of peace and would not compromise its principles.

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