The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) says the attackers of the Owerri Custodial Centre forcefully released a total of 1,844 inmates on Monday.
“Six 6 inmates have so far voluntarily returned to the facility while 35 inmates refused to escape”, Francis Enobore, NCoS Public Relations Officer, said in a statement.
The spokesman confirmed the attackers stormed the facility at about 0215hrs on Monday and gained entrance into the yard.
The PRO added that explosives were used to blast the administrative block.
Enobore said the gunmen stormed the prison in several Hilux pick-up vans and Sienna Buses, armed with sophisticated weapons.
The statement said the assailants engaged the security personnel on duty in a fierce gun battle.
Acting Controller-General of Corrections, John Mrabure has ordered a comprehensive investigation into the incident.
The prison officials and other security organizations have commenced search and recover operations to recapture the fleeing inmates.
The NCoS chief assured that the security of correctional centres nationwide remains sacrosanct.
Mrabure directed all officers attached to facilities “to remain vigilant at this trying moment in our history