BusinessDay

Kuje prison attack: Minister admits Insurgents had superior weapons

...says some terrorists killed in operation

 

The federal government on Friday admitted that the Nigeria security operatives could not match the superior fire powers of terrorists that attacked the Kuje Correctional Centre.

The Islamic State for West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists had claimed responsibilities for the attack on the Correctional Centre, located at Kuje, about 25 minutes drive from the only International airport that serves as gateway into the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

But the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Dingyadi, while briefing State House journalists on the outcome of the National Security Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, disclosed that “the security personnel deployed to the facility did their best to repell the attack but were subdued by the superior weaponry of the terrorists”

The Minister revealed that some of the assailants were however killed, during the exchange of gun fire with the Nigeria security operatives

Asked why the terrorists could not be stopped, he said: “You see, these kind of things, they happen and I want to assure you all those who are supposed to play a role in ensuring that the attack is neutralized did the best but they could to neutralize it.

“I think what helped them was the number of people they came with and the superior weapons they came with.

“And because nobody anticipated it, the few people could not withstand the number that they came with. I think that’s what happened.”

The Minister said some of the assailants were killed but their bodies taken away by the terrorists.

Asked why no arrest was made, he said: “Some of them have been killed. But I can’t give you the number and I don’t know the number. Because like they use to do, whenever one of them is killed, they take away and you cannot know the number of people who have been killed. But definitely, quite a number of them were killed and many of them runway with bullet wounds.”

He, however, assured that investigation into the incident will continue, adding: “Like I said, this investigation is still going on. You will only do good to allow the investigation to continue and maybe by the time they finish, you will be able to get the details of what actually happened and why it happened.”

Read also: Kuje prison: FG declares escaped Boko Haram terrorists wanted

On why there had been nothing specific to report after days of the attack, Dingyadi remarked that the outcome of the investigation will determine the cause, reaction and how to prevent a reoccurence.

He explained: “The investigations have already commenced. What I said is that Mr. President has given clear directive to service chiefs to ensure that what happened Kuje does not reoccur.”

The Minister added: “Even when the President went to Kuje, he raised the surprise there. He was concerned, he expressed his surprise as to how it happened. And and that is why he quickly convened this meeting.

“Mr. President has been briefed and he has assured the nation that he’s on top of the situation. Whatever is supposed to be done is going to be done and is being done to ensure that those of them that are not yet back are brought back to the Correctional Center.

“And like I said, the security agencies are investigating to find out the immediate and remote causes of what happened, how it happened, whether there is any cause for taking punitive measures against who is supposed to be…these things will be determined by the outcome of the investigations, which I believe will very soon.”

On whether there is a timeline for the investigation, the Police Minister stated: “As soon as possible. You see we have raised this issue at the meeting and we know Nigerians are eager to know the actions that are going to be taken.

“But you see some of these things are security issues. We do not need to give out the details of what we are going to do. But we will just assure Nigerians that we’re on top of the situation. And we will be doing it the needful.”

In his opening address at the briefing, the Police Minister affirmed that President Buhari was surprised at the manner of attack despite the security measures in place.

He stated: “Mr. President had directed that we hold today’s Security Council meeting to review the situation of security in the country particularly as it relates to insecurity issues that have happened in the last few weeks.

“We are talking about the Kuje jail break that arose as a result of the attacks on the Correctional Centre by terrorists as well as the banditry attack that took place in Katsina around the same time, as all as the various attacks on Shiroro local government of Niger State.

“Mr. President was deeply concerned about these developments. And he initiated this meeting to enable security agencies, the service chiefs, Inspector General of Police to brief the council on what actually happened and the way forward.

“We had a very successful meeting and the council has agreed to take proactive measures that will ensure that repeat of what happened this few days would not be witnessed anymore.

“Mr. president is surprised that what happened to Kuje actually took place inspite of all the security arrangement that has been made to ensure that such an incident does not happen.

“We are assuring the nation and Nigerians in general that arrangements have been made to ensure that full investigations are carried out to ensure that a repeat of these incidences will not occur.

“The service chiefs have been given very clear directives to ensure that adequate measures are taken not only to investigate what happened, but also to take steps to forestall the reoccurrence of such incidences.

“We call on Nigerians to continue to support the federal government, in its effort to ensure that we fight criminalities to finish and to ensure that this country is brought back to normalcy in a more secure and a more peaceful atmosphere.

“We are moving toward 2023, and government is committed to ensuring that there’s peace, tranquility to ensure a very credible and a peaceful and transparent elections in Osun State come early next week.”

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