Kuje Jailbreak: Observers express concern over security breach, allege compromise

By AdvocateNews on 07/07/2022

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Tongues are wagging over the Kuje Prison attack in Abuja carried out by terrorosts without any resistance with many suspecting that security operatives deployed to guard the correctional centre might have compromised their duties.

Observers of the ugly incident have argued that the prison, a facility being guarded by a combined team of 176 Special Forces, Guards Brigade of the Nigerian Army; Police Mobile Squadron 21; DSS, and the armed squad of the Nigeria Correctional Service numbering about 100, couldn’t have been overrun so easily and successfully if the operatives had performed their duties. 

Findings Wednesday indicated that the assailants bombed the fence before gaining entry into the facility and also razed seven vehicles, and destroyed other facilities.

The gunmen were said to have operated for about two hours without any response from the security agencies.

The incident sparked panic in Kuje, a satellite town where the correctional facility is located, and apprehension in the nation’s capital.

About 900 inmates are being held at the facility, including a former Commander, Intelligence Response Team, Abba Kyari, who is facing trial for drug dealing. 

Also at the facility are the former governors of Plateau and Taraba States, Joshua Dariye, Jolly Nyame and others pardoned by the Council of State in April.

They have not been released due to the delay in their approval letter from the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

Over 12 attacks and jailbreaks have occurred in the last five years in which no fewer than 3,500 inmates and hardened criminals have escaped. 

Top security sources said the attackers, on gaining entrance into the custodial centre, made for a section of the expansive premises where the Boko Haram commanders were held.

They were said to have called out the names of the terrorists who were brought to the correctional centre from a special detention centre for insurgent fighters located in Shiroro, Niger state, a few weeks ago.

A source stated, “The deadly BH commanders were transferred from the detention facility in Shiroro for trial in Abuja. They were among the scores of terrorists arrested by the IRT when Kyari was the commander.

“On breaching the perimeters, the attackers went to a section of the custodial centre where their men were being held and called them out by name. That means they have advanced information about where the guys are. It is a coordinated raid with tacit official support.”

Providing an insight into the prison attack, the source, an operation commander, explained that the abduction of the Kaduna train passengers was carried out by the terrorists to compel the Federal Government to release their commanders.

The Kaduna kidnappers were demanding the release of 15 commanders, a request the government was reluctant to grant.

The official added, “With the escape of the BH fighters, the kidnappers may soon release the Kaduna train passengers because their demand has been met tacitly as their attack on the prison was made very easy.

“How could the attackers have succeeded if not for official compromise? This is a facility being guarded by a combined team of 176 Special Forces, Guards Brigade of the Nigerian Army; Police Mobile Squadron 21; DSS, and the armed squad of the Nigeria Correctional Service numbering about 100.

“They also have about four Armoured Personnel Carriers and close circuit tv cameras which covered the perimeter fence. There were also three security checkpoints before the facility.

“Besides these security layers, the Nigeria Air Force base, Nigeria Immigration Service and NSCDC headquarters are just a few kilometres from the prison. If these are not enough to deter or thwart the attack, there is a Police Counter-Terrorism Unit at Zuba and the SFU unit in Gwagwalada. How come all these security structures failed to thwart the assault?”

An impeccable security source observed that the standard security protocol dictates that the vicious commanders should not be kept together in a detention facility.

He added, “Such vicious terrorist commanders are not supposed to be kept together at a facility. They should have been kept in twos in different states to make it hard, if not impossible for their compatriots to rescue all of them at a go.”

An NCoS Officer said the attack was successful because the soldiers were newly deployed to the prison facility.

The officer said, “I think why the attack was successful was because they just brought new military personnel and they are yet to settle down. Also, our men didn’t quickly get the reinforcement needed to repel them; it was after they left that we started receiving help.”

President Buhari during his visit expressed shock over the scale and audacity of the attack and queried: “How did the defences at the prison fail to prevent the attack? How many inmates were in the facility? How many of them can you account for? How many personnel did you have on duty? How many of them were armed? Were there guards on the watchtower? What did they do? Does the CCTV work?”

A security expert, Kabir Adamu, said the security agencies possessed enough information to know that a facility housing high-profile inmates could be attacked.

A security analyst, Ben Okezie, described the incident as a national shame, calling on the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, to resign “and hide his face in shame because he told us there will no attack on any correctional facility in the country but since he came on board, we have had several attacks.”

Posted 07/07/2022 5:18:17 PM


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