Mass Prison Break as Over 200 Inmates Escape From Correctional Facility in Nigeria

Hundreds of prisoners have escaped from a Nigerian prison this morning leaving one dead after the complex was taken over by intruders, local media reports.

Footage taken from the road outside the Benin Correctional Center in Edo, southern Nigeria, shows men clambering over the barbed prison fences as a crowd gathers beneath.

Some men are seen using makeshift weapons to hack away at the barbed wire to jump what appears to be a 15-foot prison wall to the ground, video shared by national outlet Vanguard shows.

Plumes of smoke billow from inside the prison walls as chaos breaks out on the street below as people rush towards the commotion, in scenes shared by the Nigerian Tribune.

Another video shared by TVC News shows prisoners in the compound brandishing sticks and wooden planks in the air as other men climb over a roof.

One man can be heard chanting "get the prison guards" as others cheer around him.

BREAKING

Nigeria Correctional Service Facility, along Sapele Road, Benin City attacked, over 200 inmates escape.#ENDBADGOVERNANCE #EndSARS pic.twitter.com/KLExlaTOdd

— TVC News (@tvcnewsng) October 19, 2020

A group had gathered along Sapele Road outside the prison from 7am on Monday setting bonfires and blocking the road, Vanguard reports.

Members of the group reportedly broke a part of the prison wall while others climbed the fence into the prison yard.

Armed prison officials were said to have engaged the suspected hoodlums in gun fire, leaving some injured and others with gunshot wounds.

It is unclear exactly how many prisoners escaped during the attack, however TVC News reports over 200 inmates were freed and one person died during the riot.

Properties within the premises, including the High Court across the road, were also said to have been vandalised.

The violence follows a week of protests in the city calling for an end to SARS, police brutality and volatility surrounding an upcoming state election.

Police arrived on the scene in an attempt to contain the situation but footage shared online shows a chaotic scene where dozens of men are seen running through the streets while appearing to shout "freedom".

It is unclear whether the men were prisoners.

The Nigerian Police Force released an update hours after the incident began saying the extent of damage was so far unknown.

"Reports indicate that the protesters carted away arms and ammunition from the armoury and freed the suspects in custody before setting some of the facilities ablaze," the force tweeted.

Edo police spokesman Chidi Nwabuzor said police were continuing to contain the scene, according to The Cable.

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, declared a 24-hour curfew across the state to take effect from 4pm.

"While the government of Edo State respects the rights of its citizens to undertake legitimate protests, it cannot sit idly when hoodlums have taken laws into their hands to cause mayhem on innocent citizens and the state," Obaseki tweeted on Monday.

Newsweek is attempting to ascertain more details from state police.

Nigeria prison escape
Over 200 prisoners reportedly escaped from Benin Correctional Facility in Nigeria on Monday. Google Maps