From Reuben Buhari in Kaduna, 01.23.2010
Prisoners in the Kaduna Central Prison, which once housed late Gani Fewehinmi in 1969, yesterday staged a violent demonstration within the walls of the prison over what was attributed to be the congestion of the prison.
In what was said to be a well-thought out plan, the prisoners surprised their guards around 6 am and almost snatched their arms but were quickly overpowered by the prison waders who also called for help from officers of the state security outfit; Operation Yaki.
When THISDAY visited the prison built in 1915 around 9 am, the popular Independence Road that passes the front of the prison was blocked by armed mobile and prison waders. The four walls of the prison was also entirely cordoned off by more than 20 police vehicles, while other armed policemen were seen patrolling around the prison.
An eyewitness, who operates a provision shop adjacent to the prison, explained to THISDAY that “I came here around 7 am and I saw lots of policemen men. I initially thought that the Jos crisis has spilled into the state but I was later told by some of the waders that some prisoner, who complained of not having space to sleep, are demonstrating inside.
“Some, according to the wader, also claimed that the time they wait before being taken to court is too long and also that they are not being properly treated by the waders,” he said, adding that they were told by the police that they would not be allowed to open their shops until the situation had been brought under control.
Attempt to see the Public Relations Officer of the prison was not possible as he was said to be on leave, while the officer, who deputises for him, was said to be ‘somewhere.’
Also, the Controller of the Kaduna State prison, Abubakar Ashafa, was said to be out of town, while the Deputy Controller, (Administration), who deputises for him, refused to speak to THISDAY, saying that since the controller was not in town, he could comment on anything. Likewise, the Police spokesperson, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Aminu Lawan, said he could not comment on the issue as the prison service was in the best position to explain what happened.
Attempts to find out whether any prisoner escaped or any person was hurt was not possible but the sounds of people, shouting kept coming out of the walls of the prison.