A cell search conducted by Kuje Prison officers led to Monday’s riot, according to sources within the prison.

A source disclosed to Punch Newspaper that Kuje Prison officers had learned that certain inmates were enjoying privileges prohibited by the prison. These inmates were housed in a ‘VIP’ cellblock containing comfortable, dormitory-like cells.

This discovery prompted prison officials to conduct a search of the cells. When certain inmates refused to comply, a physical altercation broke out and escalated into a riot.

“What happened on Monday was that as the officers moved to carry out a search of their cells, the inmates refused, and before you know it the situation had degenerated into an altercation between the inmates and the officers, with some convicts trying to physically attack the warders,” a source told Punch Newspaper.

He added that an armed squad fired warning shots and released tear gas in order to quell the situation.

Daniel Odharo, the Federal Capital Territory’s Controller of Prisons, confirmed the incident but assured the press that no inmates had escaped.

“Some inmates tried to resist the [cell search] exercise, which led to an altercation between the search party and the inmates,” he explained. “This was quickly put under effective control. No prisoner was injured, no property damaged and the yard is calm and peaceful.”

Monday’s riot is the latest in a series of prison conflicts that have unfolded in Nigeria this summer.

In June, two prisoners escaped from Kuje Prison with the assistance of prison staff, but were rearrested shortly thereafter. Kuje Prisons officer Musa Tanko was subsequently sacked.

In July, 13 inmates escaped from Koton Karfe Prison in Kogi State.

Due to such incidents, 23 prisons officers were dismissed while 11 others were suspended.

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