There was a pandemonium at the State High Court Owerri Friday morning
following a shoot out by a yet to be identified gun men, which led to the
escape of a notorious kidnap suspect, Henry Chibueze known as “Vampire”.
According to eye witness account, the gun men numbering about six had laid ambush in the court and awaited the arrival of the suspect, “Vampire,” who was conveyed to the court alongside other suspects.
The gun men were said to have shot sporadically for more than ten minutes
leaving everybody in court including security operatives scamper for safety
before whisking away “Vampire” believed to be their member.
Activities at the court were paralysed following the incident as people were seen in clusters discussing the incident. The Public Relations Officer in charge of Owerri Prisons, Mr. James Maduba who confirmed the incident said about six persons were injured while Vampire who had been in Prison custody since July 2015 was now at large.
Mr. Maduba said efforts were being intensified to ensure the re-arrest of
the fleeing the suspect. Mr. Maduba also said that 9 (nine) inmates of the Owerri Federal Prisons had been declared missing by the Service following an attack by gun men at the State High.
DSP James Madugba told Radio Nigeria that eleven inmates had escaped but two voluntarily returned to the prisons moments after the incident. He said the Service in collaboration with other security agencies has launched a manhunt on the fleeing inmates.
“The number of inmates that went to court was 57 but we have discovered that 9 inmates are still at large. It was 11 before but two came back to the prisons on their own. They walked down from the court to the prisons. So 9 inmates are now at large that is the true situation of things, though our search party has gone to look for those that escaped in order to see the possibility of recapturing them.”
DSP Madugba explained that the gun men disguised as security agents and positioned themselves inside one of the courts at the premises only to open fire shortly after suspects facing trial for various offences were brought into the court.
He noted that three Prisons Officials sustained injuries during the incident and expressed surprise that the gun men could operate in such a manner despite the security situation in the court premises.
“5 people were wounded one was serious and they have been taken to the hospital for treatment and 3 of our Officers were also wounded. It is really unfortunate that such a shootout could take place at the court premises and there was no intervention from outside prisons arm squad personnel. Our people showed gallantry, they tried their best to defend themselves but the only thing that baffles us is that this is court premises that has two gates. So the method they used to escape is something that is disturbing because they used their vehicle.”
In the meantime, the Imo State government has placed a (5,000,000.000 (five million Naira) reward to anyone with useful information that will lead to the arrest of a notorious kidnap suspect, Henry Chibueze alias Vampire who escaped from prison’s custody in court on Friday.
Governor Rochas Okorocha announced this while briefing Newsmen after an emergency Security Council meeting held in government house this evening.
The Governor who was visibly angry over the incident said he had directed security agencies in the state to do everything they could to fish out the suspect.
“It’s on record that Vampire has killed so many innocent citizens, One of the incidents of Vampire was killing of a whole family in Lagos. The family of his girlfriend, and taking of one hundred million naira as ransom and still killing the person at Port Harcourt, so he has been very notorious. He was arrested by men of SSS and I personally visited to interview him and he accepted and admitted guilt but our judicial system was allowed to take its due course and that led to his escape. We have placed a price on him that whoever is able to give us information about him will receive the sum of 5 million naira from the Imo state government.”
BY CHINAZO ILECHUKWU