BY OLORUNSOLA JOHN OLUDAISI
Nigeria as a nation is still in shock of the Kuje Prison jailbreak that saw forceful freeing of about 800 inmates from the maximum prison during an attack carried out by terrorists.
Terrorists attacked the Kuje Medium Security Correctional Centre in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory on 5 July with a cocktail of Improvised Explosive Devices and high-calibre weapons to free imprisoned fighters. Hundreds of inmates, including suspected Boko Haram members and Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) gained what could be described as illegal freedom.
Kuje Prison, is a prison designed to hold 560 inmates maximum, but at the time of the attack, it was holding some 1000 inmates with minimal supervision.
The composition of the escaped prisoners showed that 888 inmates escaped during the attack — including 554 persons awaiting trial, 71 convicts, 36 on death row, and 17 on life imprisonment.
ISWAP, a breakaway faction of Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the attack and later released a video of the incident.
There is no doubt that Nigeria, under President Muhammadu Buhari, is passing through a tough time. It is on record that insecurity has been so worse under Buhari’s watch more than any other past governments in Nigeria.
Official reactions after the jailbreak revealed that those who supposed to handle the problem of insecurity in this country are just holding offices without doing anything.
The Controller General of Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), Haliru Nababa, disclosed that Nigeria’s prisons are not fortified enough to withstand the kind of attacks they have been subjected to in recent times, just as he admitted that they received intelligence on possible attack, but the information was not narrowed down to the Kuje Custodial Centre.
Minister of the Interior, Rauf Aregbesola confessed during a hearing called by the National Assembly that no fewer than 65 armed officials on ground during the attack reportedly carried out by hundreds of members of the deadly terrorist group.
“In that facility on that day of the invasion were 31 military personnel of the Nigerian Army, five personnel of MOPOL 21, five personnel of MOPOL 50, two personnel of counter-terrorism unit of the Nigeria Police Force, two personnel of Kuje Police Division, seven personnel of Nigeria Immigration Service, three personnel of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, and 10 personnel of the [NCoS] armed squad,” Aregbesola told the lawmakers.
Despite the fact that the prison was fortified, the terrorists still have a free day breaking into the facility..
In the wake of the debate on the prison, there were speculation that the terrorists were led back into the Kuje prison by former inmates with the speculation that the attack could only have been possible with the collaboration of insiders within the nation’s correctional system. It was glaring that the prison was attack without formidable” pushback from security operatives.
The government of President Buhari is facing increasing criticism for its failure to tackle the country’s widespread insecurity with armed kidnapping gangs and militant groups unleashing violence
What is the business of the Minister of the Interior and all the Service Chiefs in this government.
President Muhammadu Buhari is advised to do the needful before it is too late by rejigging the nation’s security architecture and also sack the Minister of the Interior and all the Service Chiefs NOW.