Two inmates dead in Kaduna attempted jail break

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rev King
Two inmates were yesterday confirmed dead in an attempted jail break in Kaduna where the condemned Christian Praying Assembly (CIA) General Overseer Rev. Chukwuemeka Ezeagu King is being held.

Unofficial sources put the causality figure at 15.

The whereabouts of King, who police accused of instigating the jail break attempt, remained unknown at press time.

But the Comptroller General of Prison, Olusola Ogundipe, who visited Kaduna, said King was hale and hearty.

King was condemned to death about four years ago by an Ikeja High Court for the murder of a member of his church. He was on the death row in Lagos and Kuje, Abuja prisons before he was transferred to Kaduna.

The inmates were said to have around 6am broken the wall fence. Ogundipe said even though the condemned prisoners’ cell was broken, none of the inmates took part in the incident in which some prison officials were injured.

Bullet shells and used teargas canisters littered the prison yard. Traffic was diverted.

Trouble started when the inmates stormed out of their cell, overpowered the prison warders and dug a hole on the wall fence in an attempt to escape.

Sources told The Nation that the inmates, who were mainly from awaiting trial and armed robbery cells, attempted to force their way out.

A source said: "Few minutes to six o clock, we heard noise from within the yard and to our surprise, we saw the inmates moving towards the workshop and bringing out dangerous weapons which they attacked us with. They came from the G-Line of the prisons which is used in housing robbery suspects.

"The armed guards among us opened fire but were overpowered. They quickly ran outside. Some of us were told by the inmates to change into convicts’ uniform which we did. They set the admin building, record office and the workshop on fire. Some made for the walls and attempted to escape but were stopped by the guards who were firing from outside."

The source added that some of the prisoners who were privy to the plan had informed prison officials about it. Based on the information the inmates were not brought out for their early morning chores at 5am, he said, adding: "We didn’t bring them out at 5.00am today, but by 6.00am, they broke the walls of their cells and moved into the yard".

Blaming the incident on King, Chief Tamkari Mohammed described the cleric as a trouble maker.

He said: "From what I was told, the prison officials said one Rev. King was the cause of this problem. He has served in Kaduna prison, he has served in Lagos prison and wherever he goes he has become a problem, so they said about three days ago, they had cause to transfer him to Katsina prison, because he was causing a lot of havoc in Kaduna prison like he did in all prisons he had stayed, and three days after he left Kaduna prison trouble started".

Prison chief Ogundipe said one of the problems facing the prison service was the congestion of the awaiting trial cell, adding that of the 797 inmates at the Kaduna Prison, 539 were awaiting trial.

"This morning, awaiting trial and robbery convicts attempted to break in and escape from Kaduna Prisons. I want to say that the total number of inmates that we have that were opened out this morning was 797.

"Of the number, we have 539 awaiting trial and we have about 139 people awaiting execution on the death row. So we had a lot of cases of people awaiting trial in the yard, most especially robbery suspects.

"So the problem we had today came from the robbery suspects section. By 6.15am this morning, the doors were unlocked when the prisoners opened them and overpowered the guards, went straight into the yard and straight to the workshop and brought out dangerous weapons which they used in attacking everybody. In the process, buildings were burnt down by the inmates; the admin block and the workshop were razed…

"But I want to thank the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police and other security agents for their efforts in bringing the situation under control.

"In terms of casualty, two inmates died while attempting to escape. If you go round the prison, you will see a hole where they dug and attempted to escape from it. Luckily students from the training school cordoned off the place and there was no single escape. No prisoner escaped. Not a single prisoner escaped. But we lost two inmates and 39 were injured.

"Some members of staff were also injured, with serious ones among them taken to the hospital. I also want to thank the Kaduna State government, and to say that immediately the incident occurred, NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency) came to our rescue; Kaduna State government brought in doctors and you can see ambulances all over evacuating those who are injured to the hospital.

"The situation is now calm, and all inmates have been taken back to their cells and further investigation is being carried out on the remote and immediate causes of the incident.


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