Controller-General of Prisons, Peter Ekpendu
Investigations have revealed that the pandemonium which broke out at Kuje prison on Monday was caused by inmates who resisted warders carrying out a search on their cells for prohibited items.
A source in the prison said during the search, 25 mobile sets were recovered from a suspected Boko Haram inmate.
He said: “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.”
Also cannabis, were also uncovered in some cells and confiscated, the source said.
Confusion escalated when the warders, who were overwhelmed, retreated and got reinforcement.
They were said to have opened fire on some of the prison inmates, which left some injured. It is still unclear if any of the inmates died. The prison authorities are keeping mum over the suspicion that some inmates may have died.
“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,” the source said.
He stated the inmates rebuffed the search because the prohibited items were brought in by warders after they were paid.
“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.”