Hardship: Gunshots as Jos inmates protest moves to cut down rice consumption

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There was pandemonium on Friday at the Jos Correctional Centre in Plateau State after inmates  protested plans by authorities to reduce their food ration.

They expressed dissatisfaction over the decision, a situation that forced the prison authorities to fire tear gas canisters and gunshots into the air to bring the situation under control.

Sources at the correctional centre indicated that the contractor in charge of food supply to the centre had complained to the authority about the high cost of food items, especially rice which is a stable menu of the inmates will have to be adjusted from four times to twice in a week and will be substituted by either grains or garri.

This decision seemed not to go down well with the inmates as they expressed their grievances on Friday during a routine briefing by the official in charge.

Confirming the incident to journalists at the Nigerian Correctional Service in Jos, the Controller of Corrections Plateau State Command, Raphael Ibinuhi, stated that tear gas canisters and firing shots in the air were applied to disperse the unruly inmates when they refused to return to their cells.

“By the time the inmates were called this morning for briefing, they were not happy that the period for consumption of rice has been reduced from four times to two in a week and expressed dissatisfaction on the development,” Ibinuhi said.

“I instructed the officer in charge to return them to their cells but instead they became violent and started throwing stones at the personnel. In response and to keep the situation from getting out of hand, we have to resort to firing tear gas canisters and gunshots which enable the handsmen to return the inmates to the cells. Some of the personnel sustained minor injuries from the stones thrown at them but no inmates were injured as the situation was brought under control.”

Nigerian Standard gathered that the Jos Custodial Centre has 1,064 inmates comprising 1,035 males and 19 females. Of the figure, those awaiting trial are made up of 647 males and 14 females. While convicted inmates consist of 205 males and four female, inmates on death roll are 131.

Following the rising cost of living in the country, many Nigerians have demonstrated, asking the Federal Government to ameliorate their pains.

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