The Nigerian Correctional Service, Imo State command, has said that over 1,200 inmates of the Owerri Correctional Centre were still at large following the April 5 jailbreak.

Goodluck Uboegbulam, the state Public Relations Officer of the NCS, on Wednesday, said only 600 inmates had returned voluntarily to the centre.

Uboegbulam added that strategies were already in place to ensure that the fleeing inmates had were rearrested and brought back to finish their jail terms.

He said, “We also call on the general public to assist with useful information that would help us to apprehend the fleeing inmates because they constitute serious security threat.

“Over 1,200 out of the 1,844 that fled from our custody are still at large. About 600 have either voluntarily returned or recaptured. But we are hopeful that many more will voluntarily return.

“After the attack, we have undertaken several measures aimed at getting them back. In fact, we have gone as far as writing to the churches, communities and village heads; letting them know the dangers in allowing the fleeing inmates to hide within their communities. What it has yielded so far is the voluntary return of some of these fleeing inmates.

“But one irony is that most of the families and parents of these fleeing inmates don’t understand the implications of what we are saying. Some of them say, ‘Oh thank God, finally our sons have been set free.’ But the price of that freedom is that the individual cannot work anywhere, cannot do any job, and cannot open a shop anywhere because he is a fugitive.

“Since the attack, officers have not rested on their ores. There have been joint operations between NCS and sister agencies in effort get these fleeing inmates.”

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