Christopher Oji and Lukman Olabiyi
The Ikoyi Correctional Centre Lagos was yesterday set ablaze by inmates who allegedly wanted to cause confusion to enable them break jail;
but their efforts were repelled by combined efforts of security agencies.
As at the press time, the military and the Police have cordoned off the area. A police officer told the Sun that the fire may have been caused from the inside or that the protesters may have thrown explosives from the outside.
The police officer said:” What I can say is that we were swift in responding to distress calls. We had envisaged such following the experience of Benin jail break. We can’t explain what really transpired because we did not seen protesters. But fire is burning inside. We don’t know whether it was inside job or maybe someone was cooking or electrical fault. Investigations will reveal. I can’t really say if it was a jailbreak attempt.
“I can assure you that no inmate escaped and none will escape. We have blocked the Okotie Ebo, Ribadiu and other roads. You can see soldiers , Civil Defence and police everywhere.
“The problem we have is that there is only one small truck and a handful of fire service officers as there is no way for them to come to the place as they will be attacked by protesters”.
Sporadic gunshots were also heard in the area as security operatives opened fire perhaps to scare away hoodlums and put fears in the eyes of inmates who may want to escape from Ikoyi Correctional Centre on fire.
However, a senior officer with the Correctional Centre has cleared the air that the fire in Ikoyi Correctional Centre was a jail break attempt. The official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Daily Sun that: “The inmates caused the fire. There were no hoodlums around the vicinity. Preliminary investigation showed that the inmates put the fire from the kitchen. They had already dug a borrow to the prisons wall where they intended to escape from but we mobilised ourselves and sister agencies; the military, police and civil defence and we prevented any escape.
“The inmates attacked our officials, injuring some of them. They burnt the Record Office and computers, thinking that they had destroyed our records, but the good thing is that we have backups. Their records are intact. I can tell you sincerely and authoritatively that no inmate escaped. We have returned them to their places.”