BusinessDay

Kuje attack: Buhari expresses disappointment in security agencies

4 confirmed dead, 459 inmates still at large, 350 inmates recaptured

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday paid a visit to the Kuje Correctional Center which suffered an on Tuesday night.

The President who is on his way to Senegal to participate in the International Development Association (IDA) for Africa Summit in Dakar, Senegal, stopped over at the prison to assess the levels of damage done to the prison.

Buhari spent about 30 minutes the prison before moving on to his destination.

Soon after he arrived, he was briefed about the attack by Shuaib Mohammad Lamido Belgore, permanent secretary, ministry of interior and the Haliru Nababa, controller general of Nigerian Correctional Service, showing him the bombed-out section used to access the prison compound and the records office which was set on fire. The officials added that the invaders thereafter launched an attack on all cells in which Boko Haram terrorists were held.

The President expressed surprise that, at the end of it, none of the 63 terrorists are accounted for, but it was emphasised 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.

Officials of the prison also informed the president 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).

He said: “I am disappointed with the intelligence system. How can terrorists organise, have weapons, attack a security installation and get away with it?”

Read also: Kuje Prison: We can’t locate all 64 Boko Haram terrorists – Defence Minister

The President, accompanied by Boss Mustapha, the secretary to the government of the federation, Ibrahim Gambari, the chief of staff, said at the end of the visit that he is expecting “a comprehensive report” on the incident.

The presidency used 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.

The Service Public Relations Officer (SPRO), Abubakar Umar, had in a statement, earlier, revealed that the attackers had broken into the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje, using explosive devices through the main entrance and the fence of the facility respectively.

He also revealed that one of the personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) attached to the Custodial Centre, died in the attack, adding that three personnel were seriously injured.

“A total of 879 inmates escaped from the facility during the unfortunate attack. As at the time of this report, 551 inmates are currently in custody, 443 inmates are still at large.

“Four inmates are dead and 16 inmates sustained various degree of injuries and are being treated at the moment. However, efforts are ongoing to recapture all fleeing inmates, ” he said.

Umar said that the Service 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.

Following attacks on the Kuje Medium Custodial Center, Abuja, business activities, including markets, schools, banks and shops were shutdown, as citizens remain in shock.

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