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Kuje Prison

12.08.2022 Exclusive EXCLUSIVE: Kuje Prison Wardens Turn Into Beasts After Jailbreak, Torture, Starve Inmates

Published 12th Aug, 2022

By Daniel Ojukwu

Wardens manning the Kuje Medium Security Prison in Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital, have been ill-treating inmates since last month’s jailbreak, an insider has told FIJ.

The prison was hit by terrorists on the night of July 5, and several inmates were set free, while one security guard lost his life in an attempt to defend the facility.

Speaking with FIJ on Thursday, the insider said wardens had been restricting official visits to inmates since 2020, but after the jailbreak, some of the authorities began to feed inmates poorly, torturing and injuring some of them.

According to the source, some victims of the torture were Shiite Muslims detained for protesting the detention of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, their leader.

‘ESCAPEES RETURNED BUT WARDENS TURNED INTO BEASTS’

“On that night of July 5, inmates tried to escape to save their lives. About three hours after the attackers left, some of the inmates returned, and others returned the following day. Few were recaptured and many are still returning. Some persons did not leave the place,” the source told FIJ.

READ MORE: In New Video, ISWAP Claims Responsibility for Kuje Prison Attack

“But to our greatest surprise, the correctional authorities turned into beast towards the inmates. They packed their clothes and set them on fire. They immediately stopped the welfare department, where the inmates were allowed to send for food items and beverages to feed themselves.

“The feeding condition of the inmates is terrible. They are given badly cooked beans in the morning, and the quantity can never satisfy the inmates. In the afternoon, they are given raw garri and soya beans. Then in the evening, the inmates are served corn meal without soup.

“Since the incident, anytime the prison observes that visitors are coming to check on the inmates, they make a special food to give the visitors the impression that the inmates are cared for. After the attack, the officers have given the inmates all kinds of maltreatments.

READ MORE: THE INSIDER: Boko Haram Gave 15-Min Quranic Lecture to Kuje Inmates Before Setting Them Free

“For them to apply for self-feeding, they have to pay the sum of N100,000, which most of the inmates cannot afford. The inmates are locked up for longer in their various cells without being allowed to have some fresh air.”

‘PRISON CONTROLLER AHMED MUSA CAME WITH DOGS, TEARGAS

Our source said the prison service stopped inmates’ access to rehabilitation programmes, and on August 4, Ahmed Musa, controller of the FCT command of the Nigerian Correctional Service, stormed the facility in the company of armed squads who had batons, dogs and teargas.

The source said Musa opened the cells one after the other and beat inmates, leaving them with injuries of varying degrees, and said anyone who died should be written off.

“All the rehabilitation programmes that the inmates were undergoing have been totally stopped. Every day in Kuje prison is a nightmare for the inmates who survived the attack,” the source said. “Those who did not escape are treated like animals.

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Name, Photo of ONLY Security Agent Killed by Terrorists at Kuje Prison

“He (Ahmed Musa) has added more problems to the traumatised inmates who are yet to recover from the shock of the ISWAP attack. Currently, the situation is still the same. The inmates are helpless and begging the federal government to come to their aid. The government should have interviews with the inmates.”

The source said some of the inmates had expressed a willingness to fight back and retaliate.

“The situation could lead to internal riot because some of the inmates are insisting that instead of treating them like dogs, they prefer to fight for their right, even if it will cost them their lives,” the source added.

FIJ attempted to reach the Nigerian Correctional Service, but its website was inactive as of press time. Our reporter made attempts to call the Ministry of Interior, but its phone number was switched off. A text message sent to the number had also not been responded to at press time.

This report was produced with support from the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) under the Collaborative Media Engagement for Development Inclusivity and Accountability project (CMEDIA) funded by the MacArthur Foundation

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Published 12th Aug, 2022

By Daniel Ojukwu

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