Noah Ebije, Kaduna
A jailbreak was averted Tuesday at the Nigerian Correctional Service, Kaduna State Command, as inmates attempted to escape following a rumour that some of their colleagues have contracted the coronavirus right inside the facility.
Independent Way, where the facility is located in Kaduna City centre, as well as other access roads, were reportedly cordoned off due to the incident.
Security agents and prison wardens have, however, been able to bring the situation under control.
Those suspected to have contracted the disease were allegedly seen coughing and sneezing profusely, thereby mounting pressure on others in trying to force their way out of the correctional yard, Daily Sun has learnt.
The Comptroller of the Correctional Service, Sanusi Muazu Danmusa, when contacted by our correspondent, said the situation has been brought under control.
Shiite leader Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife are believed to be incarcerated at the correctional facility, following the adjournment of their case sometimes ago.
The development has forced his followers to demand that the federal government release him immediately so as to avoid being infected with the coronavirus inside the facility.
Meanwhile, media spokesman for Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), the Shiite group which El-Zakzaky leads, Ibrahim Musa, has called on government to release their leader and his wife, saying that their safety no longer guaranteed at the Correctional Service.
Musa said in a statement to journalists:
“Credible reports emanating from the Kaduna Correctional Center, where the government is wrongly detaining Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife has reached the Islamic Movement in Nigeria of a turmoil leading to the opening of fire and blocking of all access roads to the Center.
“We are rightly concerned about these developments and we strongly call on all relevant authorities to ensure that the security and safety of the Sheikh and his wife are guaranteed.
“We would hold the federal government responsible for any harm to them. It is the responsibility of governments to protect all inmates in such homes, especially with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world, especially as the law presumes all to be innocent until proven otherwise by a law court.
“The case of Sheikh Zakzaky in particular, is quite different, where a federal high court had declared his arrest and detention as unconstitutional and a violation of his fundamental rights.
“Furthermore, the charges for which he is standing trial at the moment have been punctured by two different courts, who tried nearly 200 members on the same charges and discharged and acquitted them all.
“We therefore strongly demand for the immediate release of the Sheikh and his wife.”