NAN – No fewer than 144 inmates of the Koton-Karfi Prison in Kogi State have been set free by gunmen, who invaded the prison on Sunday night.
One of the prisoners, whose identity has yet to be made known, was also killed.
The state Controller of prison, Mr Adams Omale, told newsmen on Monday that the prison came under attack of armed “external forces’’ between 9.30pm and 10pm on Sunday.
He said 145 inmates were in the prison as of the time of attack, saying 119 of the inmates were awaiting trial while 26 were convicts.
Omale added that one of the inmates was shot dead during the confusion that followed the invasion.
The controller, however, said 12 of the inmates were either re-arrested or returned on their own.
He explained that police and army personnel were quickly mobilised to counter the invaders, but the damage had been done before their arrival.
However, residents of the sleepy town, which is just a 25-minute drive to Lokoja, the state capital, claimed that the attackers held sway for more than two hours.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the 50-bed prison facility, built in 1934, was similarly attacked in February 2012 by gunmen.
The report said 136 inmates were set free while 27 were re-arrested during the 2012 attack.
Among those freed from the prison on Sunday night were armed robbery and murder convicts.
The four cells in the prison had their iron bars removed while the record office was thoroughly ransacked.
It was also observed that the ceiling of the building was shattered and the clinic turned upside down.
Governor Idris Wada in company with his deputy, Mr Yomi Awoniyi, and the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Prisons Service, Mr Aminu Suley, later visited the prison to assess the extent of damage.