A riot broke out at Kuje Prison, Abuja, on Monday, and sporadic gunshots were fired. It was learnt that the melee started after some inmates resisted the attempt by prison officials to search their cells for banned items.
It was gathered that security operatives fired gunshots and tear gas canisters to restore law and order and control the rioters.
This happened barely two weeks after a similar incident in Abakaliki Prison, Ebonyi State, which led to the death of six inmates and injuries to four prison warders.
It also comes two months after two inmates, standing trial for culpable homicide, escaped from the Kuje Prison. The fleeing inmates have yet to be re-arrested since they escaped on June 25.
The Controller of Prisons, FCT Command, Daniel Odharo, in a statement, confirmed the crisis at the prison but said there was no injury or escape by inmates.
His words: “At about 1000hrs on Monday, staff of Kuje Prison carried out a routine cell-search which is a part of the prisons operational guidelines to prevent the breach of security within and around the prisons.
“Some inmates tried to resist the exercise, which led to an altercation between the search party and the inmates. This was quickly put under effective control. No prisoner was injured, no property damaged and the yard is calm and peaceful.”
The Punch however reports that its correspondents gathered from a reliable source in the prison that during the search, 25 mobile sets were recovered from a suspected Boko Haram inmate.
The source stated: “The incident happened this morning. The warders, who were acting on instructions from the prison authorities, decided to search the cells and seize prohibited items.
“During the search, they found 25 handsets with a Boko Haram suspect. After a search of the convicts’ cells, they moved to the awaiting-trial cells.
“But those men, who saw the warders approaching with some ‘already’ seized items, decided to resist them. They attacked the warders with stones and every object they could lay their hands on, and in the process, many of the warders were injured.”
It was gathered that after a search, some substances, suspected to be cannabis, were also uncovered in some cells and confiscated.