The terrorists implicated in the Madalla Catholic church bombing, Kabiru Sokoto, and Nyanya Motor park bombing, Aminu Ogwuche, both in Abuja, are among the 64 high-profile Boko Haram terrorists and 264 other hardened criminals set free by invaders of the Kuje Medium Correctional Centre, Abuja, on Tuesday night.
The Nyanya bombing on April 14, 2014, killed 88 people and injured over 200 others, while the Madalla Christmas Day bombing in 2011 killed 44 worshippers and injured 75 others.
LEADERSHIP reports that no fewer than 551 of the 879 inmates that escaped from the Kuje Medium Custodial facility had been recaptured.
Meanwhile, ISWAP has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Correctional Centre on Tuesday night.
The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), in a statement by its image maker, Abubakar Umar, revealed that the recaptured 443 inmates and 108 other inmates who refused to flee the facility, totaling 551, were currently in custody, while 328 inmates were still at large.
The service added that while 16 inmates sustained various degrees of injuries, four inmates and a Civil Defence officer attached to the facility lost their lives.
NCoS, in the statement, also revealed that some of the attackers were killed while some escaped with gunshot wounds.
Kuje Medium Prison on Tuesday night came under heavy bombardments by unknown terrorists, a development that threw the entire area into confusion.
The statement partly reads, “I wish to state that the attackers broke into the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje, using explosive devices through the main entrance and the fence of the facility respectively, killing a personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) attached to the Custodial Centre and leaving three personnel of the Nigerian Correctional Service seriously injured.”
According to the statement, a total of 879 inmates escaped from the facility during the attack, and as of the time of this report, 443 had been recaptured, 551 inmates were currently in custody, 443 inmates were still at large, four inmates were killed and 16 inmates sustained various degrees of injuries and were being treated at the moment.
While assuring the public that it would deploy its Corrections Information Management System (CIMS) in synergy with National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to track all fleeing inmates and return them to custody, it said DCP Abba Kyari and other VIPs held in the facility did not escape and are presently in custody, hale and hearty.
The statement recalled that after the attack at the Medium Custodial Centre in Agbolongo, Oyo State, the minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, met with the heads of the security agencies under his supervision where the idea of Joint Security Taskforce comprising the Nigerian Correctional Service, Nigerian Immigration Service, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps was formed to forestall further breaches on custodial facilities.
NCoS added that as of the time of the attack on Kuje prison, no fewer than 38 military personnel in addition to personnel of the NSCDC, Police, DSS and NCoS armed squad were on guard.
This, according to the statement, was the minister’s efforts to rejig the security architecture of the custodial facilities.
They appealed to hospitals and other medical institutions and practitioners to report anyone that approaches their facilities for treatment for gunshot injuries to the nearest law enforcement agency.
A source at the medium prison facility told LEADERSHIP that the first explosion, a high-capacity bomb, went off at about 10.25pm and was followed by a second and a third blast, and sporadic gunshots that left the residents scampering.
The source, who confided in LEADERSHIP that the over 300 attackers invaded the facility few hours after they got intelligence report of possible attacks on the medium prison, said the attackers gained entry from the back of the prison yard.
“They invaded the place with sophisticated trucks and motorbikes,” he said.
When LEADERSHIP visited the now heavily guarded facility, a top-ranking Prison official who pleaded not to be named said thus, ” As you can see, the facility is in chaos and I cannot immediately elaborate on anything. The damage is massive.
Some eyewitnesses who stay around the Kuje Prison told our correspondent that the attack which lasted about three hours (10:24pm to 2:45am) was done with ease, as it went unresisted.
For the residents, the delay in reinforcement allowed the attackers to have a field day as they kept shooting steadily throughout the assault.
Expressing fear about their safety, the residents of the area have called on the FCT administration to immediately deploy more armed men to their area.
A resident who gave his name simply as Mr. Thomas said, “I thought having a house in an estate close to a prison and Air Force quarters will guarantee maximum security for my family and I, but what happened last night from 10:35pm till about 2:30am has made me start thinking differently.
“In fact, all my children wet their clothes with urine and my blood pressure was dangerously high this morning.”
The national security adviser, General Mohammed Mungono and other security stakeholders were sighted at the premises. Speaking to journalists, he fingered Boko Haram terrorists for the attack.
Kaduna Train Attackers Responsible For Kuje Attack, Renew Execution Threat As Victims Spend 100 Days In Captivity
Malam Tukur Mamu, the media consultant to Kaduna-based Islamic scholar, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, and publisher of the Desert Herald newspaper, has disclosed that the same terrorist group that carried out the Kaduna train attack and kidnapping were responsible for the attack on Kuje prison on Tuesday night.
He also revealed that government security agencies failed to act on intelligence he provided them about the impending attack, just as the revealed that the Kaduna train terrorists had threatened again to execute the over 60 captives in their custody if government fails to accede to their demand.
LEADERSHIP revealed that the terrorists had demanded, among others, the release of their family members in government custody in exchange for the release of the remaining train passengers in their captivity.
Mamu has been negotiating with the terrorist group that carried out the attack on the Kaduna-bound train of 28th March, 2022 and abducted over 60 persons with about 51 still in their captivity.
He said the security agencies’ inability to carry out necessary action based on intelligence he shared with them was responsible for the Kuje correctional centre attack.
This is just as he further disclosed that the same terrorist group that attacked the train and has held 51 passengers of the train captive for the past 100 days are responsible for the Invasion of the correctional centre.
I’m Disappointed With Intelligence System, Says PMB
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday visited the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje , which was attacked by terrorists, spending about 30 minutes there.
Soon after he arrived, according to a statement by Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, he was briefed about the attack by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr. Shuaib Mohammad Lamido Belgore, and the Controller General of Nigerian Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa, who showed him the bombed-out section used to access the facility, before launching an attack on all cells in which Boko Haram terrorists were held.
The president was surprised that, at the end, 64 terrorists escaped, but it was emphasised that the records were not lost because they had been backed up.
After inspecting some of the points impacted by the attack, President Buhari spoke to newsmen, expressing disappointment with the intelligence system (and utilisation).
“I am disappointed with the intelligence system. How can terrorists organize, have weapons, attack a security installation and get away with it?”
Buhari Leaves For Senegal, Presidency Defends Trip
The Presidency has reacted to mounting criticism of the trip to Dakar, Senegal by the president, stressing that governments do not stop working because nations face terrorist threats.
President Mumammadu Buhari travelled to Dakar, Senegal, to attend the International Development Association (IDA) for Africa Summit yesterday.
The President has been under attacks over his decision to travel out of the country following the attack on his presidential convoy in Katsina and Kuje correctional centre in Abuja on Tuesday.
Speaking to State House correspondents, presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, said shelving the scheduled trip was tantamount to surrendering to the whims and caprices of the terrorists.
“To cancel the trip to Senegal would mean that the terrorists are successful in calling the shots, something that no responsible government in the world will allow.
“The moment terrorists begin to stop you from doing things, then we might as well throw up our hands in surrender. The President should go ahead. Yes, it’s an international obligation,” he said.
He also spoke on the attack on the presidential convoy in Katsina on Tuesday.
“ You know when a President travels almost anywhere in the world, there will be an advance team. That was the advance team that was going to Daura.
“Mr. President himself is billed to travel to Senegal this afternoon for an international conference. He will return to Abuja tomorrow, and thereafter proceed to his hometown, Daura for Salah, so it was the advance team that was going ahead, made up security, protocol, media transport, all the departments that have one or two things to do with the President’s stay and comfort were the ones going ahead.
Perpetrators Will Be Arrested, Defence Minister Vows
The Minister of Defence Maj Gen Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd) has pledged that those who attacked the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje, will be arrested and brought to justice.
The minister, who conducted an on – the -spot assessment at the scene of the attack, disclosed that all Boko Haram terrorists inmates escaped from the facility.
PDP Queries Redeployment Of Soldiers 24hrs Before Incident
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the spate of insecurity and the audacity with which terrorists ravage the country unchallenged under the ‘rudderless’ All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.
The party said the simultaneous terrorist attacks on the advance convoy of President Muhammadu Buhari in Katsina State as well as the Correctional Facility in Abuja, the nation’s capital, underscore the collapse of security command and control structure under the failed, ineffective and uncoordinated Buhari-led APC administration.
The national publicity secretary Hon Debo Ologunagba said the terrorist attack on President Buhari’s convoy in his home state of Katsina as well as the ferocious invasion and the freeing of hundreds of terrorists and criminals from the Kuje Correctional Facility further confirm that Mr. President has lost control of the security of the nation and Nigerians are no longer safe under the APC.
PDP added that the escalated spate of terrorism across the country has heightened apprehensions of complicity by the APC to open up the nation to more terrorist attacks with the view to stalling the 2023 general elections.
“The failure of the APC administration to act on the intelligence provided by the Directorate of State Services (DSS) which on Tuesday July 5, 2022 reportedly warned of an impending attack on the Kuje Correctional Facility gives credence to fears by Nigerians of complicity at the very high level of the APC administration.
“This is in addition to further reports that soldiers deployed to the precincts of the Kuje Correctional Facility and who had become familiar with the terrain were redeployed 24 hours before the terrorists attacked,” the party said.
On his part, PDP presidential candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has blamed the recent attack on the inability to enthrone a regime of law and order to deter offenders.
Atiku, who reacted to the Kuje Prison attack, said he was concerned about the escape of detained terrorists and hardened criminals and their threat to the lives and property of residents in Abuja and its environs.
Heads Must Roll, Say Security Experts
On his part, former minister of interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau said that security agencies are not working together and this has necessitated the successful attack on the Kuje prison by suspected terrorists group.
Dambazau, who was spoke on a programme on Channels Television last night said there was intelligence before the attack and the security agencies failed to work together to stop the attack.
“It is either there is no capacity to act or there is failure on the part of intelligence-gathering and action and the failure of the security agencies to coordinate and stop the attack,” he said.
The former minister, who called for someone to be held responsible, stated that there should be investigation and sacking of any person found culpable in the government.
He stated that when was the minister of interior, a jailbreak happened and the comptroller general then was sacked when he was found not to have done enough to stop the attack.
He also stated that it is disturbing that Boko Haram inmates were left in Kuje prison even though his investigation then had shown that they were undergoing de-radicalisation which means they shouldn’t have even been in the prison in the first place.
Also speaking, former director at the Department of State Services (DSS), Mike Ejiofor said this is one attack too many.
Security experts have described the Kuje Jailbreak as shameful, adding that the terrorists’ request of prisoner-swap was a clear sign of imminent attack on the holding facility.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP, they expressed worry at the security agencies’ inability to immediately mobilise and thwart the attack as soon as it happened.
They said inability to punish failure and negligence of duty over time had brought Nigeria to the ugly trend witnessed around the country.
A public and private security analyst and trainer, Major Banjo Daniel (retired) said the jailbreak was a necessity to the terrorists and an obvious expectation to the nation’s security agencies.
“Their inability or non-readiness to repel/counter-attack the invaders is another point to note by any skillful analyst.
“The terrorists had many times requested for the exchange of their men in captivity for some abducted Nigerians, to which the Nigerian government paid no heed. Having no other course of ensuring their release, to us, that was a clear case of carelessness, a great disregard for the lives of the masses”.
Also, the managing director of Beacon Consulting, Dr Kabir Adamu, said the failure to punish negligence over time was responsible for security agencies’ poor performance.
“The fact that the custodian centre is a holding place for hardened criminals, and other high profile suspects and the fact that we are told that a significant number of them escaped, if those are hardened criminals, especially the ones that are engaged in activities like terrorism, and they are now going back to join their group, if that number who are top terrorists leaders rejoin the group with their knowledge and skill-set adding to the capacity of the group, it will not augur well for the country,
“We need to ensure that we start punishing both impunity and lack of responsibility. There have been too many instances where failure has not been punished and I think that is what is leading to this. By the time we start punishing failures so that those that remain will live up to their responsibilities,” he said.