There was pandemonium at the Nigeria Correctional Centre, located on Sapele Road in Benin City, Edo State as armed security operatives prevented another jailbreak reminiscent of the October 19, 2020, prison invasion during the nationwide EndSARS protest.
At about 1.30pm, gunshots were heard at the correctional centre, popularly known as White House, as a combined security operatives comprising the police, Army, Correctional Centre armed personnel and vigilante, secured the facility.
Moments later, the vigilante group was seen blocking half of the ever-busy Sapele Road, while motorists scampered for safety.
A source simply said: “There was an attempted jailbreak today at the Benin prison, leading to serious shooting. Soldiers and policemen have been drafted to the area.”
Recall that during the EndSARS protest, the Sapele Road Correctional Centre as well as the Oko, Airport Road Centre were compromised, with thousands of inmates escaping.
The Controller of Corrections, Edo State Command, Felix Lawrence, described the shootings at the Sapele Road Correctional Centre as “disturbance” by some awaiting trial inmates, especially those recaptured after the jailbreak of October 2020 EndSARS riots.
In a statement issued on Thursday evening and endorsed by DSC Aminu S. Suleman, the Command’s Public Relations Officer, he said some awaiting trial inmates started protesting at the facility at about 12.30pm, resulting into confrontation between them and the convicted inmates of the facility.
In the statement titled: “Disturbance At Benin Custodial Centre”, issued on behalf of the Controller of Corrections, the PRO said: “At about 12.30pm, some awaiting trial inmates especially the recaptured escapees started protest which led to a confrontation between them and the convicted inmates. Reinforcement was immediately mobilized from the State HEADQUARTERS to enforce law and order.
“The situation has been completely controlled and the Custodial Centre is calm. There was no escape of any inmates or death.
“Sister security agencies have showed solidarity by drafting their men around the outer perimeter fence to compliment Correctional Service Armed Squad personnel to ensure total security of the custodial Centre.
“The Controller of Corrections Felix Lawrence wishes to assure the general public that they should go about their normal business without any fear. Meanwhile, investigation into the incident has been instituted by the Controller to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the disturbance.”