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Kuje jailbreak: 65 armed security men on duty day of attack – Aregbesola

By Linus Aleke
No fewer than 65 security operatives were on guard duty at the correctional facility in Kuje, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on the day it was invaded by terrorists, the Minister of Interior, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, has said.

The Minister of Interior made this disclosure while, appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Interior.

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The Minister informed the lawmakers that well-armed security operatives were attached to the correctional centre to prevent an attack on the facility.

“In that facility on that day of the invasion were 31 military personnel of the Nigerian Army, personnel of MOPOL, personnel of counter-terrorism unit of the Nigeria Police Force, of Kuje police division, personnel of Nigeria Immigration Service, personnel of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, and personnel of the [NCoS] armed squad, bringing the number to 65.

“These 65 people were there for the specific responsibility of assisting and preventing any attack and they were all armed. Because of the presence of the press here, I will not tell you the great arsenal in their possession but they were well-armed. If we have an exclusive arrangement, I’ll give you the specifics of the great equipment of the military arsenal that was positioned for the defence of the facility.

However, despite everything, our arrangement for protection of Kuje failed and the facility was breached.”

On July 5, 2022, gunmen attacked the Kuje prison facility and freed hundreds of inmates, including suspected Boko Haram members.

The Guards Brigade is currently investing the soldiers on guard duty on that faithful day, with the view to court Marshal them if they are found culpable in breaching the security of the correctional facility.

President Muhammadu Buhari had expressed concern over the incident and queried why gunmen were able to successfully “attack a security installation and get away with it”.

But the Minister of Interior further disclosed that 994 inmates, out of which 64 were terror suspects, Boko Haram, ISWAP, and others, were in the facility on the day of the attack

He added that 888 inmates escaped during the attack, including 554 persons awaiting trial, 71 convicts, 36 on death row, and 17 on life imprisonment.

Aregbesola said, 106 inmates refused to leave the facility during the attack, while 28 inmates who left the facility voluntarily returned between July 6 and July 15.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Intelligence, Sha’aban Sharada, said the facility was invaded without “formidable” pushback from security operatives.

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“Of grave concern is that the attack, which lasted for several hours, did not record any formidable resistance from the security personnel deployed to the facility, nor was there an adequate response from the security agencies in the FCT, despite the proximity of the Nigerian Air Force station at the international airport to the scene of the incident,” he said.

While describing the attack as, “very disturbing and embarrassing,” the chairman said it raises serious concerns about the effectiveness of the security architecture in the country.

Meanwhile, at the investigative hearing, security chiefs invited were absent, while some were represented.

The invited Service Chiefs include the National Security Adviser (NSA), Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Minister of Police Affairs, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), and Chief of Air Staff (CAS).

Sharada said the lawmakers will invoke their constitutional powers if the security chiefs fail to honour their invitation.

 

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