A number of inmates have been killed after soldiers stationed at the Kirikiri Medium Prison, Lagos were called in to quell a riot which broke among inmates of the prison on Friday, an eyewitness has told Saturday PUNCH.
Saturday PUNCH learnt from a source who pleaded anonymity that a protest against the seizure of a ceiling fan belonging to an inmate degenerated into the riot which might have claimed the lives of a number of the prisoners.
Our source, who witnessed the incident, said the shooting started around 1.30pm.
He said, “Someone brought in a ceiling fan for an inmate referred to as the ‘general-overseer’ of the prison’s Christian denomination. But the fan was seized by the officer in-charge of the prisons, who also allegedly ordered the inmate detained.
“The inmate said he was the owner of the ceiling fan and only sent it out of the prison for repairs.”
According to this source, the inmate was later released after protests by his colleagues who felt he was being unjustly punished. But the situation was said to have degenerated beyond control, necessitating the intervention of soldiers at the prisons.
“By the time the inmate was released, the other prisoners had started throwing stones at windows and getting violent. The soldiers shot sporadically at the inmates as they ran into their cells, but many of them were hit,” our source said.
As of the time of filing this report, there was no confirmation on the actual number of prisoners killed but our source claimed to have seen the dead bodies of a number of inmates and some injured prisoners with bullet wounds being transported to the hospital within the prison.
But the spokesperson for the Nigerian Prisons Service, Mr. Ope Fatinikun, told our correspondent on the phone that there was indeed a riot at the prison, which he claimed was not violent.
He said, “No inmate was shot at, but 12 of them who sustained minor injuries have been given treatment.
“If anybody tells you he saw dead bodies of shot inmates, he should provide pictures. We have passed that stage something like that could not have happened without someone getting a picture.”