An inmate at the Kuje Medium Security Correctional Centre in Abuja died on Monday but the authorities are favouring a cover-up.
The inmate, described as “tall, slim, chocolate in complexion and quiet in nature”, died inside a cell in Custody 4 — a section reserved for awaiting-trial inmates. His body was immediately removed that night but authorities warned his cell mates against alerting his family.
FIJ gathered that the inmate had been sick for some time but still managed to move about. But the firing of teargas canisters fired on the day of the riot is believed to have worsened his health, while the lockdown subsequently imposed after the riot restricted him to a place unlike before when he could move about.
A prison source told FIJ that the cell members of the deceased shouted for help when they noticed he was feeling extremely unwell, but when the warders showed up, they only said they would come back to attend to him. He died within 15 minutes of the initial visit by the warders.
When the warders were again informed by inmates that the man had passed on, they returned to remove his corpse.
“They warned the cell members not to reach out to his family, that they would reach out to his family themselves,” the source said.
The Kuje prison is still yet to officially confirm the riot that led to the ongoing lockdown.
The death of inmates is often covered up by prison authorities, at least officially. In March 2020, for example, some newspapers reported that as many as eight inmates died during the COVID-fear-induced attempted jailbreak at Kaduna Prison.
However, the prisons service denied it, saying nobody had died. It would later admit only one death. Next, they said only one death. It later admitted only four deaths.
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