Correctional facility and police investigations department in Owerri, the Imo state capital, was reportedly set ablaze by unidentified hoodlums in an overnight operation on Monday, reports on social media indicated.
Multimedia and witnesses account on social media said the attackers struck the prison and police department shortly after midnight, freeing a yet-unconfirmed number of inmates and suspects. Heavy gunfire also rang through the area, with an account saying hundreds of inmates might have escaped.
Senior government officials have been reportedly asked to shelter-in-place due to the proximity of the scene to the government house.
It was unclear how many prisoners escaped, but Amnesty International said over the weekend that Owerri Correctional Centre had 2,156 inmates as against its installed capacity of 548 people.
The level of destruction and casualty figures were not immediately available, but pictures shared on Twitter showed heavy smokes billowing from what posters said were the scenes of the attack that lasted for more than two hours.
No official statement has been made regarding the attack as of the time of this publication.