The riot that ensued yesterday at the popular Kuje prison may not be unconnected with the shocking discovery of about 25 mobile phones caught in possession of a Boko Haram suspect in the prison.
The protest which has caused sporadic gunfire caused pandemonium at Kuje Prison, Abuja, on Monday, following a riot by some inmates, who 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.
The violence, according to Punch Newspaper's investigation was instigated by convicts, who refused to allow warders to carry out a search on their cells for prohibited items.
It was 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.
Another prison source revealed to our source that the warders, who were overwhelmed, retreated for reinforcement.
They were said to have opened fire on some of the inmates, during which some of them were injured, though it could not be ascertained if any of the inmates died as some suspected.
“I can’t say the total number of casualties among the inmates, but I can confirm to you that many of the warders were injured,” he added.
The source explained that the inmates resisted the warders because the prohibited items were brought in by warders after being tipped.
He said, “The rot in the Nigerian Prisons Service is serious. The prohibited items that the warders wanted to seize were brought into the yard by the same warders.
“The inmates had been enjoying this privilege through trafficking by the warders. It is only natural that they will fight back, and it is a bad trend for the prisons service.”
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