The fugitives who fled from the custodial centre in Owerri, the capital of Imo state, will be pardoned if they return willingly, according to Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola.
Following an assault on the facility, the minister gave the assurance while inspecting the facility on Tuesday.
He said that while unlawful escape from custody is a felony, willful returnees would be excluded from prosecution.
The minister stated that those responsible for the attack would be prosecuted.
Aregbesola claimed that the federal government would go to any extent to apprehend the perpetrators of what he called a “despicable act.”
He said: “Unlawful escape from custody is a crime but government in its magnanimity will grant amnesty to prisoners who willfully return.
“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.”
36 inmates stayed back after the attack, according to Seye Oduntan, the deputy controller of correctional service in charge of the Owerri custodial centre.
The proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has been blamed by the police for the prison break and assault on the state’s police command headquarters.