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Jailbreak: Politicians, high profile Nigerians in Kuje Prison

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FOLLOWING an attack on the Kuje Medium Correctional Facility in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT), there have been speculations over the whereabouts of some detained politicians and high-profile inmates.

The facility has served as the correctional centre for many prominent Nigerians, including former governors, lawmakers and errant security operatives, including a once celebrated Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari.

Abba Kyari

Abba Kyari had been remanded at the Kuje correctional facility in March 2022, following his indictment in a drug case.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) had said Kyari was a member of an international drug syndicate and declared him wanted over a 15kg cocaine deal.

The agency said Kyari had attempted to sell off 15kg out of 25kg of cocaine seized by the police in Enugu, leaving behind 10kg for the prosecution of the suspects arrested with the drugs.

Prior to the case with the NDLEA, Kyari had also been involved with a self-confessed internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi.

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Abbas had pleaded guilty to multi-million dollar fraud charges presented against him by the United States (US).


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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), while probing Abbas for fraud, revealed that Kyari received a bribe to the tune of about N8 million from him to keep his colleague, Chibuzo Vincent in jail, and called for his extradition.

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Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malam filed a suit before a Federal High Court in Abuja over Kyari’s extradition to the US and the court set August 29 for judgement on the case.

The court had denied Kyari bail over the drug case and he was detained at the Kuje prison facility pending the outcome of the proceedings.

Farouk Lawan

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja in June 2021, had found the former Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Ad-hoc Committee on Petroleum Subsidy, Farouk Lawan, guilty of soliciting and accepting a bribe.

Lawan had demanded the sum of $3 million from business magnate and importer of petroleum products, Femi Otedola, to have his company’s name removed from the list of those indicted in the fuel subsidy scam of 2012.

After being caught on tape collecting the sum of $500 million as a part of the bribe, he was arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), found guilty by the court and sentenced to seven years in prison.

He was serving his term at the Kuje correctional facility at the time of the attack.

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Jolly Nyame

Former governor of Taraba state, Jolly Nyame, had first been sentenced to a 14-year prison term with fines attached, by an FCT High Court in 2018.

After the case had passed through the Appeal Court to the Supreme Court in 2020, the decision of the trial court had been upheld, although the fines were removed and the jail term, was reduced to 12 years.

Nyame had been convicted for embezzlement of public funds and money laundering.

He was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the misappropriation of state funds to the tune of N1.64 billion during his time as governor.

Nyame had been remanded at the Kuje prison facility to serve his jail term, however, his name had been included in the list of convicts granted pardon by Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari in April, 2022.

His pardon was met with criticism and backlash from many Nigerians. He was still in detention at the time of the jailbreak.

Joshua Dariye

Along with Nyame, former governor of Plateau state Joshua Dariye had also been granted a presidential pardon while serving a prison sentence in Kuje.

Dariye was convicted of stealing N2 billion from public funds during his time as governor.
He had been handed a prison term of 14 years which was eventually reduced to 10 years by an Appeal Court sitting in Abuja.

Dariye was serving as a senator representing Plateau Central in the Senate at the time he was sentenced in June 2018. He was also still at the Kuje prison facility at the time of the prison attack.

Abdulrasheed Maina

Barely eight months ago, former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT) Abdulrasheed Maina had received an eight-year prison sentence over N2 billion money laundering charges pressed against him by the EFCC.

A Federal High Court in Abuja had found him guilty of stealing money which belonged to pensioners, many of whom had died without getting paid.

He was also found guilty of concealing his true identity as a signatory to accounts opened in the United Bank of Africa (UBA) and Fidelity bank, where he concealed the proceeds of his theft.

Marina had purchased a property in Abuja, with $1.4 million cash, which was above the statutory threshold of N5 million and without passing through a financial institution.

The Kuje Medium Correctional Facility had been attacked by gunmen on Tuesday night.

The gunmen invaded the facility with sophisticated explosives which defied initial attempts by the prison security to repel the attack. Over 800 out of about 1000 inmates at the facility had escaped, though authorities said half of the escapees are now in custody.

All Boko Haram suspects in the facility had fled, and members of the Islamic State of West Africa Province released a short video on Wednesday night, claiming responsibility for the attack.

While speculations have been on over the whereabouts of these high-profile inmates, the NCoS had announced that Kyari and other prominent inmates were still in the custody of the Kuje prison authorities.

Author profile

Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via labolade@icirnigeria.org, on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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