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Riot in Kirikiri Prison as inmates protest against ban on gen sets, mobile phones, etc

By News Express on 11/10/2014

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Inmates at Kirikiri Medium Prison, Lagos, yesterday went on a violent protest over what they described as the highhandedness of the new Deputy Comptroller General, DCP Kayode Odeyemi.

The inmates were said to be disenchanted with what they see as the highhandedness of the new Deputy Comptroller, DCP Odeyemi. They alleged that he stripped inmates of all the privileges allowed them by previous Comptrollers.

An inmate explained that before Odeyemi’s arrival, inmates were allowed to use their own generator sets, cook their meals, make use of mobile phones and other personal effects and conveniences that made their stay in the prison comfortable. However, they complained, Odeyemi withdrew these as soon as he took over.

“Some of us that still have our phones had to hide it,” said an inmate who did not want his name mentioned. He told this paper that some of his fellow inmates used the riot as opportunity to escape, adding: “I would have joined them to escape if I was sentenced to life imprisonment or have more years to stay here. I have only two months and it would be foolish if I attempt to run away. I can tell you that some of the inmates here have escaped and they will not come back.”

When reminded that most of the so-called privileges are illegal, the inmate retorted: “Ever since I was detained, we hardly have light and the prison authorities are not ready to find a solution to it.

“The food that they give us over here is very bad and not fit for human consumption. This is why we have to provide some of these amenities by ourselves. Without access to some of these things you referred to as privileges, many of us would have died long time ago. Look, life is hell here without those privileges.”

Another awaiting-trial inmate, who refused to disclose his present location, confirmed that some of the inmates escaped during the riot.

“If the new comptroller wants to enforce any law, he should ensure that he provides all the necessary facilities that will make the prison fit for human habitation. We are not animals. He is giving preference to those inmates who are on his list, unlike the former Deputy Comptroller who was a little bit liberal and showed some human consideration in her dealings with us,” he said.

As at the time Saturday Sun correspondents visited the prison, heavily-armed security men, comprising prison guards, army, navy and police personnel were seen guarding the area and restricting movement of people in and outside the barracks where Kirikiri Medium Prison is located. The fierce-looking military men also cordoned off all entry and exit routes leading to the prison.

Civilians and vehicles were not allowed into the premises, except those who had proof that they were resident in the barracks. Every other vehicle that was exiting the barracks was thoroughly searched.

Shop owners and passersby, who were forced to seek alternative routes, told Saturday Sun that it was actually an attempted jailbreak.

They were peeved by the maximum security the armed officers mounted. One of the residents of the area, who could not access his house, complained: “This is not the route prisoners take when they are escaping because of the heavy security presence around the area leading to the prison. You also have a police station facing the prison directly, and this is why you hardly see them passing through the main gates. Escapee inmates go through the bush behind the prison. That is where the search team should concentrate their efforts and not here.”

Confirming the incident, Prisons’ National Public Relations Officer, Ope Fatinikun, said that, indeed, there was riot at the Kirikiri Medium Prison. He added, however, that the situation had been brought under control.

Fatinikun said that the riot resulted from inmates’ protest against delay by prison authorities to replace their ceiling fans.

“All the inmates are intact and prisons authorities are currently working on resolving the issue that led to the riot. Meanwhile, further investigation into the riot is ongoing, to know what could have led to it,” he said.

•Adapted from a Saturday Sun report.

Source News Express

Posted 11/10/2014 10:03:46 AM


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