Defence & Security

Prison, Security officers are accomplices in Kuje’s attack – Senate President

By Paul Michael, Abuja

• Commanding prisons’ lack of security cameras

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has alleged that terrorists of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), who attacked Kuje Medium and Maximum Security prison on Tuesday night have collaborators within the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS).

Lawan made the assertion after an assessment visit to the damaged custodial centre on Thursday, adding that security agencies in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) must have gotten wind of the operation during the planning stage or when the terrorists were on their way to invade the facility on foot.

According to him, the attack on the facility could only be possible with the help of insiders.

“An attack on the Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre can only have been possible with the collaboration of insiders within the nation’s correctional system.

“The attack on this correctional facility is symptomatic of the failure of security architecture. The attack is only a culmination of the failure,” the Senate President said.

Over 300 Islamic fighters stormed Kuje late Tuesday, shelling the facility relentless with rockets propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices, an operation that led to the escape of over a thousand inmates, including many top commanders of terrorists who had been held captive in the facility for years.

Speaking further, Lawan said “We were told that an estimated 300 suspected 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,” he added.

Lawan also expressed disappointment over the lack of Close Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in the facility. He, therefore, directed the NCoS to make provision for CCTV cameras in all Correctional Centres in its 2023 budget to tackle reoccurring attacks in the country.

“Having gone round the facility itself, we are disappointed that this facility does not have CCTV cameras, something that would record and give you details of what is happening and sometimes record the events.

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“This is a medium-security custodial centre, how on earth in the FCT facility of this magnitude we don’t have CCTV? It means we can say that all other medium security centres across the country do not have CCTV.

“We have asked the Comptroller General of Correctional Service to ensure that the request for CCTV at the maximum and medium custodial centres of the country are included in their 2023 budget because this is essential and indispensable.

“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,” the Senate President stated.

Lawan tasked the security agencies to ensure that the inmates who escaped from the centre were brought back.

Earlier, the Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Army Battalion in Gwagwalada, Lt Col Adisa, told the Senate leadership that over 300 suspected insurgents attacked the facility on Tuesday.

“Only a total of 50 security personnel were on the ground when they came armed with Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and other weapons,” Adisa stated.

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