Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, says the fugitives who escaped from the custodial centre in Owerri, Imo state capital, will be pardoned if they voluntarily return.
The minister gave the assurance while inspecting the centre on Tuesday following an attack on the facility.
He said unlawful escape from custody is a crime but assured that willful returnees will be exempted from prosecution.
The minister said he will ensure that those involved in the attack are brought to book.
Aregbesola said the federal government will leave no stone unturned to fish out perpetrators of what he described as a “dastardly act”.
He said: “Unlawful escape from custody is a crime but government in its magnanimity will grant amnesty to prisoners who willfully return.
“They will no longer be charged with unlawful escape but only for the initial crimes that took them to prison. So we urge all escapees to return before they are caught on the run.”
Seye Oduntan, the deputy controller of correctional service in charge of Owerri custodial centre, said 36 inmates stayed back after the attack while six persons had so far returned.
The police have accused the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) of being responsible for the prison break and the attack on a police command headquarters in the state.