Two policemen have been reportedly arrested over their possible complicity in the attack on the Kuje Medium Security Correctional Centre, Abuja, on Tuesday night during which 64 high-profile terrorists and more than 260 other hardened criminals were set free.
A reliable source within the nation’s intelligence and security circles confided in LEADERSHIP Friday yesterday that the two policemen were linked to the escaped terrorists following a telephone conversation between one of the policemen with escaped terrorists.
The source who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “Two police operatives have been arrested after their communication with some of the escapees was intercepted.
“Two of the terrorists that escaped called a police investigation officer (IPO) in one of the stations and spoke to him in a compromising manner. They are now being investigated to know their level of complicity.”
According to him, the intercepted conversation between the investigating police officer and the terrorists implicated another policemen who has also be arrested along with the IPO.
No Policeman Arrested In Connection With Attack – FPRO
However, when contacted, the Nigeria police force denied that any of its personnel was arrested in connection with the Kuje prison attack.
Force PRO, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi told LEADERSHIP last night that no policeman was arrested in connection with the attack.
Part of his text message read, “Not true. We don’t have any policeman arrested in connection with the Kuje attack.”
Senate Blames Insider Complicity for Invasion
Senate President Ahmad Lawan yesterday said that Tuesday’s attack on the Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre by terrorists spoke volumes about the failure of the country’s security architecture.
According to Lawan, insiders have compromised the security of the country and there is urgent need to sanction anyone found culpable.
Leading a Senate delegation to Kuje prison, Lawan also faulted lack of CCTV cameras in Nigerian correctional centres.
Lawmakers on the Senate delegation, which also had some members of the Committee on National Security and Intelligence, were conducted around the facility by the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa.
According to the Senate President, an attack on the Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre could only have been possible with the collaboration of insiders within the nation’s correctional system.
He faulted the Nigerian Correctional Service for not providing Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras at the Kuje correctional facility and others across the country.
The Senate President asked the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) to include a request for the provision of CCTV cameras across maximum and medium correctional centers across the country in its 2023 budget proposal to the National Assembly.
Speaking after an assessment of the correctional facility, Lawan said, “The attack on this correctional facility is symptomatic of security failure. The attack is only a culmination of the failure.
“We were told that an estimated 300 terrorists attacked this facility. They came on foot, and I believe they should have been detected.
“In the first place, 300 people will not come for an operation like this without planning. Planning must have taken a week, a month or a bit more. I believe that our security agencies should have picked this from their tracking systems in the FCT.
“Second, having gone round the facility itself, we are disappointed that this facility does not have Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras, something that would record and give you details of what is happening and sometimes record the events.
“Now, as this facility lacks a functional CCTV, there’s no record of what happened, except narration. But if we had CCTV, at least the records would have been there and analysis made, and arrest will be based on the information from the CCTV.”
Lawan further said that the way the terrorists went from cell to cell to release their members showed they had collaborators from inside the prison.
“It may not be far away from an insider job, someone who is either working in this place or must have worked here.
“I think we have to look deeper into what happened, so that we find the culprits, because when things like this happen, then there should be sanctions.
“Where people fail to do their job properly, and they have been given that responsibility, they should be asked to take responsibility.”
According to him, if people do not take responsibility for their failure, then nobody would bother to perform their assigned duties.
He lamented that with dangerous criminals on the loose in the FCT, residents cannot have peace of mind.
“The FCT has the seat of government, and today that seat is not safe. So, we have to do whatever it takes to get everybody back.”
Lawan, therefore, tasked the security agencies to ensure that the insurgents who escaped from the Kuje medium security custodial centre are found and brought back.
Briefing the lawmakers earlier, the Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Army Battalion in Gwagwalada, Lieutenant Colonel Adisa, told the Senate leadership that over 300 insurgents armed with IEDs attacked Kuje prison facility while only 50 security personnel were on ground.
Boko Haram Behind Attack on Kuje Prison – Interior Minister
Meanwhile, barely 48 hours after the attack on the Kuje medium security facility late Tuesday where gunmen freed 64 terrorists and over 260 other hardened criminals from jail, the minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has blamed Boko Haram terrorist sect for the raid.
This is coming 24 hours after the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) claimed responsibility for the attack on the prison facility which was manned by dozens of soldiers, DSS operatives, NSCDC officers and policemen.
ISWAP had in a video that surfaced online on Wednesday, July 6, 2022, showed how its men forced their way into the facility
Aregbesola also disclosed that security personnel were combing the whole Kuje area, up to a distance of 100 kilometres radius, looking for the escaped terrorists and other inmates on the run.
The minister said all checkpoints nationwide had been put on high alert, adding that more than 400 of the escaped inmates were back in the custodial facility.
The minister, in a statement by his media adviser, Sola Fasure said, “Preliminary investigation indicates that the Boko Haram sect may have been responsible for the attack. ”
He, however, gave assurance that the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), in conjunction with other security agencies, were working to bring back all escaped inmates.
Contrary to claims that the attackers operated unhindered for three hours, Aregbesola said, “Security officers on duty fiercely engaged them and inflicted heavy casualties on them. Regrettably, given their unprecedented number, they overpowered the officers on duty. One of the security personnel that engaged the attackers was unfortunately killed. May his soul rest in peace. ”
NAIJA LIVE TV had reported that terrorists broke into the facility located in the Kuje area on the night of Tuesday, July 5, 2022, throwing explosive devices and shooting at the prison guards before releasing the deadly Madalla and Nyanya bombing suspects and 62 other terrorists as well as 264 other inmates from the facility.
The statement read in part, “‘After the Abolongo, Oyo State, attack on a correctional facility, in October last year, it became apparent that a new form of attack for which our system was not prepared for had emerged. Our system was primed to prevent and foil internal disturbance and riots, not external attacks/invasion, since the facilities were usually built around police and military formations.
“The minister then directed that the NCoS urgently work with other security agencies to fortify all correctional centres in the country and insulate them against future attacks, among other measures introduced.
”This was carried out, as well-armed soldiers, police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) officers were drafted to our facilities nationwide to secure them against further attacks. Several but unsuccessful attempts were made to attack our facilities since then, as the armed guards repelled them on each occasion.”
Aregbesola stated that the ministry of the interior was working with the Ministry of Defence and the office of the National Security Adviser, as well as other intelligence and security agencies to ensure that the attackers and the escaped inmates are captured and returned to custody.
He went on: “As we speak, security personnel are combing the whole area, up to a distance of 100 kilometres radius, looking for them. All checkpoints nationwide have been put on alert. More than 400 of them have been brought in and more are still coming.”
The minister urged all residents to be calm but vigilant, and asked the peoples to report all suspicious individuals and activities to the nearest security agency.
“We appeal also to doctors and medical workers to treat and then immediately report anyone with gunshot wounds to the law enforcement agency,” he said.
No Personnel Escaped From Kuje Prison – DSS
Meanwhile, the Department of State Services (DSS) has denied media reports that one of its personnel escaped from Kuje prison during the attack by suspected terrorists on Tuesday.
Reacting to a media report that alleged that one of the escaping inmates who “claimed to be a DSS personnel was apprehended by NCS operatives near Kwali after a chase”, the DSS spokesperson, Dr Peter Afunanya, said none of its personnel was involved in the escape episode.
The report had also claimed that the so-called DSS operative also claimed to be “carrying out a special mission in the forest”.
Part of the statement from the DSS stated that “the attention of the Department of State Services has been drawn to an online newspaper report of 6th July, 2022 captioned:
Kuje Prison Attack: One Suspect Reportedly Caught After Hot Chase by Gallant Officers.
“The Service wishes to state that none of its personnel was involved in the escape episode. In fact, at the point of the attack on the prison, no DSS personnel was an inmate at the holding facility just as the claim of carrying out a special assignment was non-existent. The report is not factual and therefore misleading. The public is advised to disregard it.”
Only Trained, Motivated Security Personnel Can Secure Nigeria – Sani
Elder statesman and the immediate past secretary general of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Mr Anthony Sani, has said that allowing citizens access to weapons will not secure the country, but that only a well-trained, equipped and motivated security personnel can make that happen.
According to Sani, Nigerians must learn from America where a lot of people have been killed as a result of licence for gun policy.
Speaking with Newsmen on Friday, Sani said many people do not share the view that free access to arms or guns may yield the desired security.
“Certainly not. And rather than free access to guns, the security forces should retrieve all unlicensed guns, recruit, train and equip enough security personnel and motivate them to secure the nation by taking the fight to the terrorists and bandits in the forest while efforts are made by the government to address the underlying causes of insecurity, ” Sani said.
“When some knowledgeable and well respected leaders recommend that all Nigerians be allowed free access to arms as means for self-defence in order to tame the prevailing insecurity across the country, one wonders if such leaders think through implications in a country where poverty, ignorance and mental health challenges abound, more so in a country bedeviled by fissiparous tendencies and centrifugal forces.”
He pointed to America where despite all its technology and health services, unchecked access to arms has become a major challenge due to mass shootings.
According to the elder statesman, last year alone, America lost over 12,000 lives to mass shooting.
“Australia used to experience such mass killings due to free access to guns, but when the Australian government banned citizens from free access to guns. The country does not experience mass killings anymore, ” Sani added.
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