President Muhammadu Buhari has described the attacks on the Owerri Custodial Centre and Police Command Headquarters in Imo State as an act of terrorism.
He condemned the incidents which he said were insurgent attacks on the facilities in the Imo State capital on Monday.
Channels Television had reported that a total of 1,844 inmates were released during the early-morning attacks on the custodial centre and police headquarters.
The President praised the initial response by the security guards and security forces for preventing greater loss of life and the destruction of public property, his spokesman, Garba Shehu, said in a statement hours after the attacks.
According to him, President Buhari has directed the security and intelligence agencies in the state and in the South East to fully mobilise and go after the assailants whom he described as terrorists, apprehend them, and get them punished under the full weight of the law.
He also called for the best efforts to be made to rearrest fleeing prison detainees, many of whom were said to be deadly criminals.
The President appealed to the people to assist the law enforcement agencies with relevant information that could lead to the arrest of the criminals who attacked the custodial centre and police headquarters.
He also urged them to be vigilant, saying everybody has a stake in preserving the way of life from disruption by terrorists and anarchists.
According to Shehu, the Federal Government will use every available tool at its disposal to confront and terminate such bare-faced anarchy.
Before the attacks on the correctional service and police facilities, the assailants were said to have chanted solidarity songs at the Government House Roundabout in Owerri for about 30 minutes.
When the custodial centre came under attack, one person suspected to be a fleeing inmate was hit by a bullet while carrying his travel bag.
During the attack on the Imo State Police Command Headquarters, the gunmen also burnt almost all the vehicles parked at the command headquarters.