An uprising at one of the Edo correctional facilities known as White House along Sapele Road, on Thursday, caused panic in Benin as gunshots were heard around Ring Road and the Government Reserved Area.
Commuters, drivers, passersby, and business owners around the prison scampered for safety when they heard gunshots at about 1:30 pm.
Many had thought it was a jailbreak and they took to their heels not wanting to be caught in the crossfire.
A woman, who works in a business centre close to the correctional centre and identified herself as Jane stated that she started hearing gunshots at about 1:30 pm. She stated that she quickly locked her store not to get caught in any crossfire.
“I started noticing that something was going wrong in the prison with noise coming out from the facility. We thought it was a small issue until men of the facility started shooting and everyone close by taking to their heels,” she added.
Another source said he felt the prisoner must have attempted to break jail just like they did during the #EndSARS protest last year.
A source simply said, “There was an attempted jail break today at the Benin prison, leading to serious shooting. Soldiers and policemen have been drafted to the area”.
In a press statement by Command Public Relations Officer, Aminu Sulaiman, titled ‘Disturbance at Benin Custodial Centre’, the state Controller of Corrections, Felix Lawrence commended sister security outfits for giving his men back up during the disturbance.
The statement read, “At about 12:30 pm, 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 shown 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,” the statement added.
During the EndSARS riots, the Sapele Road Correctional Centre as well as the Oko, Airport Road Centre, were compromised, with thousands of inmates escaping.