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In Ebonyi Drama as inmates protest ban of Indian hemp in Abakaliki prison

The prisoners also demanded that the prison yard be opened to them anytime they want, among other things.

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Nigerian prisoners play

Nigerian prisoners

(All Africa)

Inmates of the Abakaliki prison in Ebonyi state on Friday, December 16, protested the ban of Indian hemp by the prison authorities.

Prison officials had to seal off the FMC Road leading to the prisons, Premium Times reports.

It was gathered that the inmates calmed down after the state Comptroller of Prisons (CP), Adaobi Oputa, held a meeting with their leaders.

Speaking to newsmen on the situation, Oputa said the inmates were agitating the stoppage of Indian hemp and other contraband goods in the prison.

"I call it agitation. I was in the office when I was called that the inmates are agitating, asking for this, asking for that; and I rushed there and asked them to select two representatives from each cell let me hear from them because we have a way we operate," Mrs. Oputa said.

She said: "After listening, I discovered some of the things they are agitating for. They are agitating for Indian hemp to be allowed inside their cells and we have stopped that. Secondly, they are asking to be opened out to the prison yard the way they want, even for churches. But you know they are many; 950 inmates and we have rules and regulations which I have told them.

"We cannot open them the way they want. They want to choose their provost the way they want. I told them I will come and conduct election for a provost. They are complaining of irrelevant things; they said they don’t want to see some staff. They even said they don’t want to see the Deputy Comptroller of Prison (DCP) and I told them I cannot appoint a DCP. The agitation is normal because the congestion is much."

The CP said that the incident was under control, adding that prison officers only cordoned off the area as a mere precaution.

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"It is NATURAL to cordon when there is problem, you segregate, you aggregate. But I have asked them to open the roads to the prisons which were cordoned off. Sometimes, the prison starts agitations when they know something (Indian hemp) is coming for them from outsiders who usually throw in Indian hemp into the fence. So, in this case you have to cordon of everywhere. Most of these agitators are awaiting trials," she said.

Six persons were killed following a protest at the same prison in August last year.


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