There was 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.
This happened 11 days after a similar incident in Abakaliki Prison, Ebonyi State, that led to the death of six inmates and injuries to four prison warders.
The Monday riot 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.
Sources in the prison said the violent protest was brought under control by the armed squad of the Nigerian Prisons Service supported by soldiers providing additional security cover for the formation.
The incident, it was learnt, caused panic among residents of Kuje community, who believed that the prison was under attack by terrorists.
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.
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.”
Investigations by one of Punch correspondents indicated that the violence was instigated by convicts, who refused to allow warders to carry out a search on their cells for prohibited items.
Punch correspondents gathered from a reliable source in the prison that during the search, 25 mobile sets were recovered from a suspected Boko Haram inmate.