Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has condemned the attacks on the federal prison and police command headquarters in Owerri, Imo state.
Some inmates were freed when gunmen attacked the correctional centre on Monday, while buildings and vehicles were razed when the police headquarters was invaded.
The Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) had said over 1,800 inmates escaped from custody, while the police accused members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) of being behind the attacks.
During his visit to the affected facilities on Tuesday, the vice-president condemned the jailbreak which he said led to the release of “dangerous criminals”, adding that the search for the escaped inmates “has begun in earnest”.
“An attack on the critical institutions of law enforcement, police stations and prisons is an attack on the safety, security and well being of the citizens.
“It is not merely an attack on law and order. It is a mindless attack on the people and the way of life of the people. When you attack police stations and free dangerous criminals, you put women, men, children and their possessions and livelihoods at risk,” he said.
“It is in this beautiful land, that our county learned an enduring lesson on the futility of violence. But there are those who believe that to resolve issues and conflicts other than by violence is cowardliness.
“If the voices of their hatred prevails we will experience the terrible and fruitless loss of life that violence begets. Our system is not perfect, and we can seek to perfect it.
“There is no earthly system that is perfect, but what democracy and the institutions of democratic governance provide, are channels, however imperfect for seeking redress for injury, for peacefully addressing the problems that ail us.
“There are many who are working tirelessly everyday to improve our system, to build up and to enhance it. We must therefore, reject the agents of anarchy that seek to weaponise the frustration and discontent of young people, for their own profit.
“The path of violence can only lead to disaster, that consumes everyone, at least to the desolation of our communities. It is easy to take peace for granted, but we need not learn the value of peace through the horrible crucible of war.”
Osinbajo, however, assured Imo residents that security presence has been enhanced to ensure that peace reigns in the state.