An attempt by officials at Kuje Prison, Abuja, to search the cell of inmates for banned items on Monday August 29, was resisted by inmates with some of them attacking the warders.
Report shows that some convicts, who were kept in a block called ‘VIP’, were allowed to enjoy certain privileges not permitted by the prison rules and regulations.
Sources stated that against prison rules, awaiting trial inmates were allowed to stay in the VIP block as it was more comfortable.
It was learnt that the dormitory-like block, where the awaiting trial inmates were kept, was congested with poor ventilation while the convicts’ cells were more pleasant to stay.
A source said, “What happened on Monday was that as the officers moved to carry out a search of their cells, the inmates refused and before you know it the situation had degenerated into an altercation between the inmates and the officers with some convicts trying to physically attack the warders.
“The armed squad had to fire into the air and they also released some tear gas canisters to bring the situation under control.”
The Controller of Prisons, FCT Command, Daniel Odharo, had in a statement confirming the crisis at the prison said no inmates escaped during the riot.
Odharo said, “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 riot is one of several incidents in prisons across the country this year.
Eleven days earlier, a similar incident in Abakaliki Prison, Ebonyi State led to the death of six inmates and injuries to four prison warders.
Monday’s riot also occurred two months after two inmates, standing trial for culpable homicide, escaped from the Kuje Prison on June 25. The fleeing inmates have yet to be re-arrested.
In June, the prisons service dismissed a female prison officer for smuggling alcoholic drinks into the Kirikiri prison in Lagos.
About two weeks ago, the Federal Government dismissed 23 prison officers for alleged complicity in jailbreaks at the Kuje Medium Security Prison, Abuja, and the Koton-Karfe Prisons, Kogi State.
The Civil Defence, Fire, Immigration and Prison Services Board, at its emergency meeting held on August 11, 2016, approved the dismissal of three senior prison officers serving in Kuje Prison and three other senior officers serving in Koton-Karfe Prison for their complicity in the escape of prisoners from the respective prisons.
The Controller-General of Prisons Ahmed Ja’afaru, In addition, had also approved the dismissal of seven junior prison officers serving in Kuje Prison and 10 other junior staff serving in Koton Karfe prison, who were also implicated in the jailbreaks.