By Bukar Bolori
Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has said all the nation’s security apparatuses have been sent after the attackers and fleeing escapees of the Kuje Prison attack, ordered checkpoints across the country to thoroughly searched for them.
Terrorists in the numbers on Tuesday night attacked Kuje Medium Prison at the outskirts of the nation’s capital Abuja fleeing all Boko Haram inmates and setting lose hundreds other inmates.
Aregbesola in a statement by his media aide, Sola Fasure said: “We are 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.
“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.”
Fasure disclosed that the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has been briefed on the full scale armed invasion of the medium security correctional facility in Kuje, Abuja, by gunmen late Tuesday, in which some of the inmates escaped.
He recalled that the security officers on duty fiercely engaged them and inflicted a heavy casualty on them, but regrettably, given their unprecedented number, they overpowered the officers on duty. One of the security personnel that engaged the attackers was unfortunately killed.
He noted that preliminary investigation has indicated that the Boko Haram sect may have been responsible for the attack, adding that the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), in conjunction with other security agencies, are working to bring back in the escaped inmates. He said 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.
He noted that 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.
He said 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.
He said: “We appeal to all residents to be calm but vigilant. Security is a collective work between government and the citizens. Kindly therefore report all suspicious individuals and activities to the nearest security agency around you. We appeal also to doctors and medical workers to treat and then immediately report anyone with gunshot wounds to the law enforcement agency. He revealed that the Minister has directed that all correctional facilities in the country be fortified; that all personnel be vigilant and alert, to avoid recurrence.
The Minister has also directed that full investigation into the incident be carried out and he should be briefed as soon as possible. If any complicity is established, the Minister has promised that appropriate actions would be taken.