From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu

Tension and confusion best describes the situation in Enugu, especially at the State Police Command, yesterday, as over 38 criminal suspects allegedly escaped from the police custody.

Although the State Police Command said only 17 suspects escaped, inside sources in the Command said the number of the escapees were between 38 and 40.

They were, according to the sources, criminal suspects kept in the police cells at the State Criminal Investigation Department, inside the State Police Headquarters.

The suspects, who allegedly escaped Sunday night, were being remanded for various offences.

Daily Sun gathered that the suspects were remanded at the police cells by Magistrate Courts during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, due to congestion of the Nigerian Correctional Service in the state.

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Meanwhile, fear has enveloped officers and men in the Department as there were suspicions that the suspects were aided to escape.

But, in a statement issued at press time, yesterday, by the State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Daniel Ndukwe (ASP), the Police Command said out of the 17 that escaped, five have been rearrested.

Giving the police account of what happened, he said, “On 20/12/2020, at about 2130hrs, a total of 17 suspects, mostly remanded in Police Custody by the Court for different offences, escaped from the Command’s State CID’s Cell after breaking the Cell’s key and resisting efforts of personnel on duty to restrain them. However, five of them have been rearrested.

“Consequently, the Commissioner of Police, Ahmad AbdurRahman, has ordered an immediate discreet investigation and intense search to rearrest the remaining 12 escapees. 

“He also directs the commencement of investigation to determine the culpability and punishment of any personnel found wanting during the unwarranted incidence. He further warns that such unbecoming lapses on the part of personnel of the Command will not be tolerated.”

The Command also enjoined residents of the State and members of the public to promptly volunteer information or report any person(s) suspected to be an escapee at the nearest Police Station.