An undisclosed number of inmates on Friday gained entry into the armory of the Calabar Prison , Cross River State, and attempted to
escape after a gun duel but were overpowered by a combined team of
The incident, which occurred at about 11am, was said to have caused
pandemonium as residents of neighbouring Afokang, Iman and Jebbs in
Calabar South axis of the metropolis scampered to safety during the gun
The Afokang end of the prison fence was broken during the process
while two inmates were said to have escaped, but the state controller of
prisons, Mr. Clement Udosen, said no inmate escaped.
It was, however, not clear how the inmates gained access to the
armory, but it was learnt that a total of 53 rifles were recovered after
the incident while one could not be accounted for.
The prison armed squad was said to have been overpowered but they
immediately called for reinforcement and the situation was brought under
control after 40 minutes of gun duel with the inmates.
An anonymous prison official said about 17 hardened criminals
consisting kidnappers, drug barons, ex-militants and armed robbers were
brought to the prison two weeks ago.
He said their arrival sent an alert that something untoward might happen.
An eyewitness, Solomon Okoro, said two of the inmates escaped through
the broken fence but one of them was apprehended by vigilant youths in
the neighbouring Afokang Street while the other escaped.
Okoro said, “We heard gun shots at about 11am. Although gun shots
within the prison yard is not new to us, but this time it lasted for a
long time. That was how we got to know that there was problem. We
stopped hearing the shots and that was when the reinforced team started
“We learnt the inmates exhausted their bullets. At the end of which,
the wall was broken, two escaped but one was apprehended by some
Reacting to the development, the state Controller of the Cross River
State Command of the Nigeria Prisons Service, Mr. Clement Udosen, said
no inmate escaped, confirming that they actually got access to the
He said, “By 11 o’clock in the morning, I was in my office in the
headquarters, the DC in charge of this prison called me that there was
serious problem in the yard so I came and the whole place was filled
with people with rifles, people who had come here to help us, the
soldiers, police, civil defence, state security service and others.
“Two of the cells’ inmates organized themselves and overpowered the
prison staff and rushed to where we have the armoury, seized the rifles
there and went back firing at the staff. In that confusion they broke
other cells and the whole yard was filled with inmates. They carried
what they could get to break the fence.
“Luckily for now they have all been rounded up and nobody has
escaped. A lot of people have been injured and one staff had been rushed
to the hospital. Right now the doctors with his team are treating those
injured. On casualties (deaths), it is the doctor that would ascertain
that because he is treating them.”
“Most of those injured are the inmates. Three of our staff were
wounded and one rushed to the hospital. There was no external invasion.
It was an attempted jailbreak and luckily nobody escaped. The other
security agencies helped us especially the 13th Brigade of the Nigerian
Army because they stationed 10 solders here, morning and night and these
are the ones that really helped us. They encircled the perimeter fence,
as they tried to come out of the hole, the soldiers were there and they
could not come out.”