Kuje Prison Attack: Where Were The Security Forces?
By Mukhtar Ya’u Madobi
Again, another national security breach was recorded at the Kuje Prison, recently. The gruesome attack was masterminded by terrorists who have sneaked and found their way into the nation’s capital city.
Last Tuesday was a black day for Nigeria. First, it was the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Aminu Umar who got killed during an encounter with bandits in Safana forest of Katsina axis. The late police officer was tagged as ‘God of Dutsin-Ma’ due to his commitment and gallantry in safeguarding the lives and properties of people against the menace of bandits around Dutsin-Ma where he served as Area Commander.
Still in Katsina, report had it that the Presidential Guards Advance Team was also attacked by the bandit-terrorists where a handful number of security officers attached to the convoy paid the supreme price with their lives.
Albeit, while the country was mourning these two devilish incidents, then came the mother-of-all. At about 10.30pm of that very night, a well sophisticated armed group of terrorists invaded and found their way into the Kuje Medium Correctional Facility located at the outskirts of the Federal Capital Territory , Abuja.
The terrorists, in their large number overwhelmed the security forces who are manning the facility and operated unchallenged. Explosive Devices were used in bombing some section of the said custodial center which ultimately gave them easy access and make it easier for them to achieve their mission.
After the storm had passed, the Minister of Defense, Bashir Salihi Magashi, a retired Major General, revealed to the public that all suspected Boko Haram detainees in the facility could not be accounted for, as they had been freed by their colleagues who earlier ransacked the facility.
Also, the liutenants and commanders of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists’ group have also fled the detention center. The group have since claimed responsibility for the attack while at the same time releasing footage of the scene via their media outlet.
Recall that, a number of correctional centers in Nigeria have continued to experience jailbreaks that are initiated by external forces. The recent FCT is the third of such ugly trends in 2022. Others include that of Oyo, Plateau and Kogi respectively.
A report published by SBM Intelligence indicated that about 5,044 inmates have escaped detention from various facilities as a result of jailbreak across Nigerian prisons, while 32 casualties were recorded in the process. The data from the study covers from Q2020 to July 05, 2022.
It is disheartening to learn that these security breaches have been happening on occasional basis without abating, thus adding to the existing number of hard-minded criminals currently roaming our streets. This has inevitably continue to worsen the security situation in the country.
While the citizens are not oblivious of the relentless efforts of security institutions across the length and breadth of the country in ensuring the protection of people and their properties, but the rate at which jailbreaks are recurring in Nigeria is something that should no longer be treated with levity and not tolerated! It should be given the adequate attention it deserves.
It is on record that Nigeria is bestowed with formidable security organizations capable of ensuring the safety of the populace across the nooks and crannies of the country.
Notable among them is the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) that gathers and provides intelligence for the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) and the Defense Ministry. In addition, there is also the Department of State Service (DSS), an agency responsible for gathering domestic intelligence and transmitting to sister security organizations for ensuring national security.
However, in case of attacks like that of Kuje prison and the likes of others, it is not something that can be achieved within a glimpse of an eye. It is not a single day job. It requires a series of planned coordination, activities and finale execution.
Truth be told, going by the above narration, our security intelligence network should have seen this attack coming long before it happened and subsequently neutralised it. This is only possible when actionable intelligence and information are gathered and followed up by a prompt response by collective security forces.
Unless our security personnel raise up to their mandates, especially in areas of intelligence gatherings and information sharing, then more attacks should be anticipated as dangerous terrorists are now on the loose, thereby raising the security threat in the FCT and the country at large to even a higher level.
According to credible sources that spoke to Daily Trust, Kuje prison in Abuja was attacked by the terrorists who bombed the Abuja-Kaduna train on March 28 in order to set their members free whom the government refused to release in exchange of the kidnapped passengers.
Tukur Mamu, a Kaduna-based newspaper publisher who has played an intermediary role with the train attackers said they hinted about the Tuesday night jailbreak. Mamu said he had shared intelligence reports with authorities concerned but they allegedly failed to act on the information.
The publisher frowned at the failure of the government to respond to the group’s threat.
“I can confirm without doubt that the Kuje Correctional Centre attack was executed and coordinated by the same group that attacked the Abuja-Kaduna bound train because they gave indications of imminent attacks to that effect which I shared.” Mamu added.
However, this is not the first time Nigeria’s security forces were accused of failing to respond to actionable intelligence, thus leading to serious security breaches which could have been averted upon implementation of adequate measures by the concerned authorities.
Honestly, the time is overripe for this trend to change for a better narrative in order to safeguard the lives of people and their territory.
On the other hand, government and security forces should focus their attention and channel their energy in securing the release of the train captives who spent more than 100 days in the terrorists’den.
Presently, the federal government hold no cards to bargain with in negotiating their (train captives) release, as the terrorists have succeeded in freeing their high profile members out of the custody. It is apparent that this situation spells doom as the victims now have a slim hope of ever regaining their freedom. Only God can intervene.
It is now a duty-bound on our security personnel to ensure adequate recapture of these escaped inmates who are still at large blending within the society, otherwise, those freed would definitely unsettle Nigeria’s security architecture; they would disrupt peace unless something is done. Urgently!
While we cannot totally overrule the influence of internal conspiracy in the recent Kuje attack, the government should ensure to go very deep in fishing out these blood-sucking criminals and their collaborators within the system.
Meanwhile, there is the urgent need for the government to resuscitate the seeming moribund Forum of Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA) to curtail the seeming interagency rivalries on occasions like this.
It is obvious that some of the security services are in the habit of sponsoring third-parties to attack and undermine other agencies in the media…. This is not only unethical, unprofessional but also very unfortunate.
This, only will be a recipe for stemming the rising tides of these recklessness and equally averting its future occurrences.
Mukhtar is a Staff Writer with the Emergency Digest.
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