Barely three weeks after 10 suspects escaped from police detention facilities in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State, another attempt was averted on Friday.
Mr Asuquo Amba, Bayelsa Police Commissioner, confirmed the attempted escape in a telephone interview.
He said the incident occurred in daylight on Thursday when the suspects were taking their bath.
He explained that the suspects in the cell had overpowered the policeman who had come to open the burglar proof for them.
“What saved the day was the outer gate which was still under lock at the time of the attempted escape.
“The prompt alertness of other policemen in the area saved the situation.
“None of the suspects escaped but the fact of the matter is that we do not have proper detention facilities.’’
He explained that the police have a make-shift facility– an office with burglary proof.
“We were lucky to have averted this one but that does not mean that it will not happen again.
“The suspects can still plan another one, we desperately need to build proper detention facilities to hold suspects”, he said.
Mr Amba said the makeshift facilities were overstretched and that this could be attributed to the slow pace of justice dispensation in the state.
He said they had written to the state government about the matter, and also engaged the judiciary on the imperatives of expedited justice delivery.
“The dearth of facilities here is hampering our efforts at policing the state,” Amba said.
The police claimed 10 suspects on November 7, at the Special Anti- Robbery Squad facility in Yenagoa escaped, but police command succeeding in re-arresting three of them.
But reliable sources claimed that no fewer than 42 suspected armed robbers and cultists detained by the Special Anti Robbery Squad cell (SARS) in Yenagoa broke free from detention and escaped.
A Policeman attached to the SARS who was drafted to cordon off the facility said that they were still taking stock of the number of inmates that had escaped.
“The cell holds more than 50 suspects but it is empty, so it is difficult to give an accurate number until they check the records, but we hear that 42 criminals were being detained,” the Policeman said.
The suspects broke through the back section of the cell and scaled into the Yenagoa Local Government premises.
A police source said that one of the escapee suspects had been re-arrested while the search for others had begun.
DSP Asinin Butswat, Spokesman of the Police Command in Bayelsa, said the incident was being investigated but that the details were sketchy.
He promised to provide further details as soon as they are available.