Two people have been confirmed dead after an attack on the Medium Security Custodial Centre of the Nigerian Correctional Services, Abolongo, Oyo town, Oyo State.
At least two security operatives also sustained life threatening injuries in the late Friday night attack on the facility.
The deceased persons include an operative of Oyo State Security Network codenamed Amotekun Corps and an inmate who was trying to seize the opportunity of the attack on the centre to escape.
A military officer attached to the Oyo State joint security patrol team codenamed Operation Burst and another Amotekun Corps member were said to be critically injured in the attack.
No fewer than 847 inmates of the facility were reckoned to have escaped during the attack.
However, 262 of the inmates have been re-arrested through collaborative efforts with the local security, including members of the Vigilante Group and Nigeria and local hunters, barely 12 hours after the attack.
At the time of filing this report last night, 575 of the inmates were confirmed to be at large.
According to a source, the Oyo Custodial Centre, which was established in 2007 with a capacity of 160 inmates, had a population of 907 inmates at the time of the attack.
The source added that out of the figure, 837 persons, representing 92 per cent of the inmates, were awaiting trial while 64 others were convicts.
At the time one of our correspondents visited the facility yesterday, heavy security presence was noticed with reinforcements from the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police.
Vigilante operatives were also seen on motorcycles accompanying the patrol vans that were searching the nooks and crannies of the town for escapees.
At strategic locations, armed operatives were seen doing stop and search on vehicles, especially commercial cabs and buses.
During the visit, our correspondent noticed two vans of the Service bringing back re-arrested inmates who were led back into custody by the officials.
The main entrance of the facility, which was destroyed with grenade, was in a shambles.
Some of the high profile inmates detained in the facility include the Fulani warlord, Iskil Wakil; a serial killer Sunday Shodipe and the CEO of Crime Alert company, Mr Olaniyan Amos.
It was not clear at press time yesterday if the attackers were on a rescue mission of any of the inmates as was being speculated in some quarters.
Sources said the attackers were able to overpower the security operatives attached to the facility due largely to the sophisticated nature of their weapons.
Two burnt motorcycles were parked by the Observatory Tower. It was gathered that the grenade planted by the tower to destroy it made only little impact on the building but the effect resulted in the burning of the motorcycles and the tent nearby.
The lifeless body of the deceased inmate, dressed in jean shorts and a blue long sleeve shirt was seen by a side of the entrance. He was said to have been shot while trying to escape.
The residential quarters of the head of the facility was also damaged as the attackers attacked the building with grenades and heavy gunshots.
The top official was said to be away from the quarters at the time of the attack.
Africa Giant Media correspondent also observed that the iron door at the entrance of the main building of the centre was severely damaged.
Most of the damaged items were riddled with bullets and explosives.
Another source privy to the incident explained that the invaders arrived at the centre armed with sophisticated weapons, and after a fierce encounter with the officers on guard, gained entry into the yard by using dynamite to blast the wall.
The source further explained that while the attackers forced all the awaiting trial detainees out of custody, the cells housing the convicts and the female inmates were not vandalised.
Confirming the attack, the Controller of Correctional, Oyo State Command, Mr. Noel Ailewon, said close to 300 inmates of the facility who escaped during the attack had been captured.
Asked about the safety of the high profile inmates in the facility, the Oyo CC said they were in custody even though he neither confirmed nor denied the presence of the top names mentioned to him.
According to him, the gunmen that attacked the facility stormed the place around 10 pm on Friday in large numbers and with sophisticated weapons.
Ailewon said he was informed about the incident around 10:05 pm by the head of the custodial centre, noting that there were varying degrees of injury but only one casualty was recorded. The casualty, he said, was an inmate that attempted to escape.
Journalists who visited Abolongo were not allowed to enter the main Custodial Centre.