Pandemonium broke out at Owerri High Court yesterday morning, as unknown gunmen invaded the court situated along Orlu Road, Owerri, setting free their member, a known kidnapper, Henry Chibueze, a.k.a, Vampire.
The suspect and others had been brought into the court for their suits on kidnapping and other criminal charges to be heard, before the incident took place.
In a swift reaction, Governor Rochas Okorocha has promise the sum of N5million for any information on the whereabouts of Chibueze. The governor disclosed this after an emergency meeting with security chiefs in the state at the Government House, Owerri.
The Guardian gathered that no such incident had happened in the state before, even during the notorious case of Otokoto, before the culprits were sentenced to death.
According to eyewitnesses, shortly after Chibueze, who had been under the custody of the prisons in Owerri, and about 50 other inmates were carried in a Black Maria into the court, some hoodlums, numbering six, armed with sophisticated arms and weapons, invaded the court premises, shooting sporadically in the air and exchanging gunfire with security operatives. As people were scampering to safety, the gunmen escaped with the notorious criminal. As at the time of filing this report, The Guardian has not been able to establish the total number of casualties, but scores sustained injuries.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO), of the Nigerian Prisons Service, Imo State Command, Maduba James, disclosed that the suspect was presently at large, adding that only six people were critically injured.
He said security operatives were on top of the situation to ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order in the state.Okorocha said it was so sad that such incident could happen, adding that the disappearance of Vampire from the prison custody poses a lot of security threat to the society.
He, however, charged security operatives in the state to go after the suspected kidnap kingpin and arrest him before he further commits any heinous crime.
The governor called on all Imo residents to go about their lawful duties without any fear, promising that security operatives and the state government would ensure adequate security of lives and property.
“Upon my arrival from Abuja this morning, I heard the sad story that a notorious kidnap kingpin, Vampire, has escaped from the prison when he was being conveyed to court.
“It is on record that Vampire is a dangerous kidnapper, who has kidnaped and killed over 100 people.“I remember when he was arrested by the men of the DSS in 2015, I personally went there to interview him. Vampire still being at large poses a big threat to the society.
“The Imo State government will give the sum of N5million to anyone with useful information about Vampire’s whereabouts.“However, Imolites should go about their normal duties without any fear,” the governor said.