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ANDY ASEMOTA, Katsina, with agency reports
No fewer than five persons were killed on Tuesday night after terrorists, numbering over 200 bombed the Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre of the Nigerian Correctional Service, NCoS, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Among those reportedly killed was a civil defence personnel attached to the facility, while four inmates, said to have attempted an escape also died.
About 879 inmates had escaped from the facility after the invading gunmen over powered the internal security guarding the prison.
However, 443 of them were recaptured, while the same number are currently still at large.
Spokesman of the Service, Chief Superintendent Abubakar Umar, in an updated statement, added that suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP Abba Kyari and other high profile inmates are still in custody, contrary to reports that he had escaped.
Umar said: “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 living three (3) personnel of the Nigerian Correctional Service seriously injured”.
He said: “A total of 879 inmates escaped from the facility during the unfortunate attack. As at the time of this report, 443 have been recaptured, 551 inmates are currently in custody, 443 inmates are still at large, 4 inmates dead and 16 inmates sustained various degrees of injuries and are being treated at the moment. However, efforts are ongoing to recapture all fleeing inmates.
“The Service will 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. This is also to confirm to the general public that DCP Abba Kyari and other VIPs held in the facility did not escape. They are presently in custody, hale and hearty.
“Recall that after the attack at the Medium Custodial Centre in Agbolongo, Oyo state, the Honourable Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, met with the heads of the security agencies under his supervision where the idea of Joint SecurityTaskforce comprising the Nigerian Correctional Service, Nigerian Immigration Service, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps was formed to forstall further breaches on custodial facilities. As at the time of the attack on the Kuje facility, we have 38 military personnel on ground in addition to personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, Civil Defence, DSS and our Armed Squad.This is the Minister’s efforts to rejig the security architecture of our facilities.
“The public is also informed that some of the attackers were killed while some escaped with gunshot wounds. We, therefore, appeal to hospitals and other medical institutions and practitioners to report anyone that comes to them for treatment for gunshot injuries to the nearest law enforcement agency.
“The Controller General of Corrections Haliru Nababa FICMC, mni appreciates the efforts of other security agencies for coming to the rescue of the Service in a timely manner. He calls on the public to volunteer useful information that may lead to the arrest of the fleeing inmates.
“The CG has reassured the public that the unfortunate incident is been handled with every sense of dedication and professionalism. He further extends his condolence to the families of those who lost their lives during the attack and wishes the injured ones a quick recovery”.
In his reaction, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed disappointment over the failure of Nigeria’s intelligence system in Tuesday’s bloody attack on Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT by terrorists that left no fewer than five persons dead.
“I am disappointed with the intelligence system. How can terrorists organize, have weapons, attack a security installation and get away with it?”the President, accompanied by Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, the Chief of Staff said.
At at the end of the visit which lasted about 30 minutes, he declared that he is expecting “a comprehensive report” on the incident.
Soon after he arrived, he was briefed about the attack by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr. Shuaib Mohammad LamidoBelgore and the Controller General of Nigerian Correctional Service, HaliruNababa, showing him the bombed-out section used to access first, and the records office which was set on fire, adding that the invaders thereafter launched an attack on all cells in which Boko Haram terrorists were held.
The President was apprised that, at the end of it, none of the 63 terrorists are accounted for, but it was emphasized that records are not lost because they have been backed up.
President Buhari, who, like most Nigerians was shocked by both the scale and audacity of the attack 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?” Question after question.
The President was also informed that the security forces have recaptured 350 of the escapees while about 450 others are still unaccounted for, and that rapid work is under way to recapture the rest.
After inspecting some of the points impacted by the attack, President Buhari spoke to newsmen, expressing disappointment with the intelligence system (and utilization).
“The Presidency wishes to use this opportunity to react to mounting criticism of the trip to Dakar, Senegal by the President, and to stress that Governments don’t stop working because nations face terrorist threats.
“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” according to a statement by GarbaShehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President(Media & Publicity)
Also reacting, former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, says insecurity has remained unabated in the country because the arrest and prosecution of criminals were not made a priority.
Atiku made this known while reacting to the attack on Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre in Abuja on Tuesday.
The former Vice President, who took to his verified Twitter handle on Wednesday, expressed concern over the incident, noting that he was deeply concerned about the implication of the attack on the security of lives and property of the residents of the Federal Capital Territory.
“I am concerned and saddened by reports of the attack on Kuje Prison by suspected terrorists.
“My concern arises not only from the prospects of the escape of detained terrorists and hardened criminals but of its implications for the security of lives and property to residents of Abuja and its environs.
“I wish to restate what I said to @THISDAYLIVE on Monday that our inability to enthrone a regime of law and order in which the arrest and prosecution of criminals will be made a priority as a deterrent to copycats is the reason why insecurity continues to fester in our country,” Atiku tweeted.
The Federal Government had said about 600 inmates escaped from the correctional centre after the attack.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Mr Shuaibu Belgore, who made the disclosure while speaking to newsmen during a visit to the facility on Wednesday morning, said over 300 of the inmates have been retrieved, adding that more are still at large.
Balgore added that one operative of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) was killed, while three others were injured in the attack.
The Permanent Secretary further stated that the correctional centre houses 994 inmates, noting that the attack was carried out by Boko Haram terrorists.
The Commandant General, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr. Abubakar Ahmed Audi, on Wednesday said for insecurity and terrorism to end in Nigeria, its security operatives must exhibit the highest level of professionalism.
Audi said this during the passing out parade of 368 newly recruited officers that were trained at the NSCDC’s College of Peace and Disaster Management in Katsina.
The Commandant General, represented by the Provost of the College, Assistant Commandant General, Babangida Abdullahi Dutsin-ma, emphasized that more training and retraining on counter – terrorism and intelligence gathering would be organized to improve the capacity of the officers and men of the corps.
Audi stated that with the passing out of the officers that had undergone a three -month rigorous Induction training course in line with the NSCDC’s present mantra of “rejigging, revitalizing, revamping, resuscitating and repositioning” for improved service delivery of the corps, the 2019 recruitment exercise had been concluded in Katsina command.
He equally assured the officers of the corps readiness to safeguard their welfare.
In his address, the Parade Review Officer and Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, assured the corps of the state government’s readiness to assist in their effort towards the protection of lives and property of the citizenry.
Gov. Massri, who was represented by his special adviser on Narcotics and Human Trafficking, Hamza Borodo, expressed confidence that with the professionalism, discipline and agility of the inductees during the parade processions, the corps training had been a tremendous success.
Earlier, the Katsina State Commandant, M. S. Bello, urged the new recruits to be disciplined and show highest level of integrity and loyalty of the nation’s constitution.
Meanwhile the Nigerian Presidency responded to the terrorist attack on the Kuje Prisons by asserting that President Muhammadu Buhari will not be stopped from carrying out his official duties for the nation by the terrorists’ actions.
This statement was made by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in response to the suggestion that the President should cancel his trip to Dakar, Senegal, yesterday in order to attend the International Development Association (IDA) for Africa Summit, which is scheduled to take place on Thursday.
Adesina, who moderated the briefing by ministers during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, said: The president ought to travel to Senegal in order to attend an international conference intended for presidents and heads of state. Never succumb to terrorist pressure.
When terrorists start preventing you from doing things, we might as well give up and accept defeat.
The President ought to proceed. It is a requirement of international law, yes.
In a previous statement, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, had stated that the President will travel from Abuja to Dakar on Wednesday to attend the IDA Summit and would return on Thursday.
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