By Francis Ugwoke
After over-powering security officials shortly after midnight, no fewer than150 inmates of Enugu Prisons yesterday escaped from the prison.
THISDAY learnt the prisoners broke roof ceilings and several locks to facilitate their escape.
They also allegedly attacked the prison officials, beating them to a state of coma before making good their escape.
Comptroller-General of the Prisons Service Olusola Ogundipe rushed to Enugu Prisons yesterday morning after being alerted of the incident.
He told newsmen that some of his officials who were seriously wounded in the process had been rushed to the hospital for treatment.
Ogundipe said of the 987 inmates in the prison, 150 escaped and that the quick assistance from the Army, Police and Civil Defence helped to re-capture 120 of them, remaining only 20 whom he said were now being hunted in all parts of the country.
He said the reason for the escape of the inmates was simply agitation, adding that the number of the inmates was on the high side, with 724 prisoners on the list of awaiting trial.
Ogundipe said the service was on the trail of the fleeing 20, explaining that efforts were on to ensure that they were recaptured as soon as possible.
He disclosed that all those who escaped were those awaiting trial and that no convicted or condemned inmate was among them.
The comptroller-general also said one of the inmates lost his life while trying to escape as he fell from the high wall and died.
Ogundipe said he visited all the wounded staff and inmates receiving treatment in hospitals, stating that they were all responding to treatment.
Reacting to the report that some of male inmates had raped the female inmates, Ogundipe said this was being investigated.
He commended the efforts of security operatives in the state in assisting the Prison Service to recapture the 120 inmates, lamenting that the situation would have been a disaster if not for their intervention.
The comptroller-general who disclosed that Enugu Prisons was built in 1924, however, regretted that the 987 inmates in the prison were on the high side.
But he said efforts were on to carry out a successful prison reform that will address the present problem of congestion in prisons.
He said the Enugu State Chief Judge had recently paid a visit to the prison during which some inmates were freed as part of the efforts to decongest the prisons.
He ruled out speculations that the escape of the inmates was masterminded but said investigations into the matter would reveal the truth of what really happened.
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