Escapee inmates of various custodial centres will be re-arrested and returned to custody, Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, assured in Abuja on Sunday.
“They can only run, they cannot hide; they are like a trapped mouse, we will get them,’’ Aregbesola promised.
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He gave the assurance while fielding questions at the flagship interview programme of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), NAN Forum.
“They will open bank accounts; they will have telephone numbers; they are just deceiving themselves; they will be caught.
“They are like a trapped mouse. Where is a trapped mouse going? If you release the rope used to trap the mouse, you are just entertaining yourself, later you’d retrieve the rope and bring the mouse home.
“They are trapped as far as I am concerned,” he stressed.
The minister conceded that the recapture of the fugitives was slow, but assured that they would be re-arrested all the same, no matter how long it took.
“Government is not giving up; government is the most difficult institution to offend; it has long insatiable memories.
“I have read about criminals or suspects who ran away from justice forever or even died as fugitives, but ultimately found out when the DNA of their bones were assessed and analysed.
“Government is a patient institution; we have done what we should do; there is nobody today in our custodial facility without all the biometrics registered; none.
“All inmates, either as awaiting-trial persons or as convicts in our custodial facilities are registered in our database or have their biometrics in the database.
“To the extent that is done, unless that person does not exist as a human being, it is a question of time before we get them; that is the assurance I want to give Nigerians,’’ he said.
The minister stressed that the Ministry of Interior was collaborating with relevant security agencies and other ministries to ensure the arrest of the fugitives.
“We have circulated the biometrics of the fugitives to every relevant organisation that could help us use the data to apprehend them and we are not relenting,” he said.
There are hundreds of inmates on the run, including those that were set free after the attack on the Medium Security Correctional Centre, Kuje in the FCT on July 5.
Security operatives on the following day of the attack launched a manhunt for the escapees and 443 were recaptured.
However, over 500 escapees were still on the run as of August 14, 2022, according to the Nigerian Correctional Service. (NAN)