Panic: 30 suspects flee from SARS detention facility in Lagos
It was a real commotion that arose recently when prisoners fled from the SARS detention center.
According to ThisDay, an uproar erupted in the disbanded office of the Anti-Robbery Special Squad (SARS) of the Lagos State Police Department on Wednesday as 30 of the 250 inmates left their cells and fled.
This contradicted claims by State Police Commissioner Hakim Odumos that the command had transferred all suspects to the State Department of Crime Investigation and Intelligence (SCIID) detention center, Panti, Yaba.
On Wednesday evening, the KP, through SP police spokesman Olumuyiwa Adejobi, issued a statement that suspects in all tactical groups under command had been transferred to Panti.
But earlier that day, escaped suspects, arrested for armed robbery, kidnapping and murder, allegedly lured a police station officer on duty to open an overcrowded facility.
The suspects shouted with all their might that they were in danger and this prompted the CO to open their cell and were immediately surrounded by inmates who mistreated him.
THISDAY learned that the number of police officers in the squad as a whole was insufficient to catch fleeing suspects because former SARS agents were waiting, awaiting instructions for their deployment.
After retirement, several mobile police officers were housed in the SARS building and headed the pre-trial detention center.
After leaving their cells, some of the inmates invaded several offices and escaped with laptops and even some weapons such as a machete recovered as artifacts, which they used to attack several mobile police officers who were trying to stop them.
Although mobile police opened fire in the air to stop them, about 30 of them fled and the rest were successfully arrested.
Explaining why the compact SARS facility had such a large number of prisoners, a police source blamed it for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because of the pandemic, he said, correctional centers in Lagos refused to accept new prisoners for fear of proliferation.
Corrections reportedly pushed police to test for COVID-19 before they could be placed in the center’s detention facility.
Given that the cost of a COVID-19 test would be borne by the command, the police decided to get an arrest warrant and place the suspects in a SARS cell.
But, denying allegations that the suspects had fled, Lagos State Police Department spokesman Muiiva Adejobi said the information was malicious and false.
He said: “Lagos State Command’s attention was drawn by a rumor circulating on social media that suspects in the disbanded SARS fled from a cell at Command Headquarters, Ikea, in Lagos State on Wednesday.
“The command perceives such rumors as unfounded, malicious and unfounded. This is an attempt to create fear and panic in the minds of the Lagosians and distract the leadership.
“In line with the IG directive, SCIID has located SARS and other disused tactical units in Ikeja and other support offices across the state, including the suspects.
“It is appropriate to state that some of the convicted suspects were tested for COVID-19, which is a prerequisite for their admission to correctional institutions; but the team is awaiting results before proceeding further.
“The suspects in all cases involving the dissolved SARS are intact. DCP Yetunde Longhe temporarily relocated to the dissolved SARS building in Ikeja to closely monitor and account for the acquisition process.
Command then urges the general public to view the news as unfounded and malicious rumors in order to satisfy the intentions of the creators, as the command is committed to reforming the police system and ensuring adequate security for everyone in the state. “.