Some senior police officers in the Edo State Police Command have been arrested over the escape of some suspected kidnappers and armed robbers from the custody of the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, at the Command’s Headquarters in the wee hours of Sunday.
The dramatic escape of the suspects, who are prime suspects in the various crimes for which they were arrested, Nigerian Tribune gathered, was considered as an embarrassment to the command, which in recent times, has been battling with the menace of the men of the underworld.
Subsequently, all the policemen on duty within the SCID and others on security duty the night the suspects escaped, have been arrested and detained on the order of the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Johnson Babatunde Kokumo.
Though the top echelon of the command would not volunteer any information about the incident, a competent source within the command, however, disclosed that the majority of the escapee-suspects were arrested in connection with the kidnapping and armed robbery in the last two months and a few others taken into custody after the raids on criminal hideouts during the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
While details of the midnight cell break were sketchy, the source hinted at a conspiracy theory, hence the mass arrest of the policemen suspected to be involved in the alleged complicity.
The source added that the commissioner of police was enraged by the embarrassing situation and had vowed that all the arrested officers and men on duty as at the time of the cell break and escape of the suspects would be made to face the command’s disciplinary board, Orderly Room.
It would be recalled that the escape of 1,993 prisoners from the two correctional centers in the state capital and the inter cult clashes that spanned over three weeks, had stretched the security maintenance capacity of the command, with the apathy of policemen to policing after the October 2020 #EndSARS protests, which led to the burning of seven police stations in the city, worsening the situation.
The inner source added that the conspiracy theory became germane given the fact that after the #EndSARS protests, “movement in and out of the road leading to the state command headquarters, as well as restrictions between the Command Headquarters and the SCID, have been watertight such that even senior officers do not have free access. So how did they escape?”