By OLAITAN IDRIS
LAGOS- A former prisoner at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre, Lagos State, Mr Christian Akara, on Tuesday said at a coroner’s inquest that an armed squad invaded the facility and shot directly at inmates.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Akara testified before the Lagos Island Coroner Division sitting at Court 4, Surulere Magistrates’ Court.
The inquest is to unravel the circumstances that led to the killing of some inmates at the Ikory Correctional Centre on Oct. 22, 2020.
Akara was responding to questions by Mrs Amanda Demechi-Asagha, an interested party in the inquest and counsel to a deseased inmate, Shola Raphael.
Demechi-Asagha is also the President of African Women Lawyers Association.
Akara said that he saw a number of armed men entering the facility and shooting directly at inmates.
He said while he was at the correctional centre he volunteered as a teacher under the Muharam Sisters, a non-governmental organisation, to teach some inmates English Language.
“On Oct. 22, 2020, I was teaching when I heard inmates shouting from their cells.
“I stepped out of the class where I was teaching and what I saw was an armed squad shooting directly at inmates.
“Out of fear, I rushed to my cell but noticed that it was not safe and immediately left for D5, another cell,” he said.
The ex-convict testified that after the shooting subsided, he and some inmates were transfered to D7 from D5.
“The yard master and his assistant, as they were usually referred to, directed us to leave the first cell to another one.
“During the transfer to D7, the armed squad made a threat about shooting the last person on the line.
“The threat was carried out when he aimed and shot at the last person at the centre of his head,” he said.
Questioning the witness further, Demechi-Asagba asked how many inmates he knew personally, and the he mentioned, Promise Nnuigwu from Cell B2, Raphael Olushola, D8 and one Ifeanyi at D7.
Akara said that some inmates were ordered to carry dead bodies to the hospital in the correctional centre.
“I was one of those who carried dead bodies.
“There were more than 150 dead bodies.
“We observed starvation for two weeks after the invasion. There was no food, and we barely had enough water to drink,” he added.
When asked if there was any recording of the incident, the witness said that the only person that had the information was transferred to another prison.
Demechi-Asagba asked the witness if there was anything unusual before the incident and Akara said that the facility had been calm.
When asked why he decided to testify, the witness said he wanted those responsibile for the killings to be brought to book.
The Coroner, Chief Magistrate O.A. Komolafe, adjourned the case until Dec.19 for continuation of trial. (NAN)