Tension, blames and condemnation by Nigerian authorities and residents follow an attack on the Kuje Medium Facility of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCos) located in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
On Thursday, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said he was disappointed with the intelligence system of Nigeria. Lawan said this during a tour of the facility to assess the damage caused by the attack.
“I am disappointed with the intelligence system. How can terrorists organise, have weapons, attack a security installation and get away with it? I am expecting a comprehensive report on this shocking incident,” Lawan said.
The Senate President lamented that there was no Closed-circuit television (CCTV) devices at the Kuje Prison.
“Having gone round the facility itself, we are disappointed that there are no CCTV, something that will record or at least give you a view of what is happening and sometimes record the event,” Lawan said.
“Now, this is a medium-security custodial centre. How on earth does a centre of this magnitude in the FCT not have any CCTV? It means we can say that all other medium security custodial centres across the country do not have CCTV.
Like Lawan, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari had also visited the facility before jetting out to Senegal for an international conference.
Rather than provide answers to the lapses that led to the success of the Kuje attack, Buhari asked a series of questions about the security chiefs and architecture of Nigeria.
“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?” he said.
How many inmates escaped from Kuje Prison?
There has been a controversy between the Ministry of Interior and the Nigeria Correctional Service over the number of escapees from the Kuje prison.
While giving an update on the attack, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Shuaib Belgore, said more than 600 inmates escaped from the prison.
“The prison is accommodating about 994 inmates and over 600 escaped. Many people have been recaptured and brought back to the prison. Maybe by the close of the day, more will have been captured and returned,” Belgore said.
But in a statement concerning the attack, the NCoS spokesperson, Umar Abubakar, said 879 inmates escaped from the Kuje Prison.
Abubakar said five persons, including an officer of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and four inmates, died during the attack.
He noted that 551 inmates were in custody while adding that 879 inmates escaped from the facility, out of which it has recaptured 443, while another 443 are still at large. These figures are, however, at variance as 443 + 443 equals 886 and not 879 as stated by the spokesperson.
Who attacked Kuje Prison?
The Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), a breakaway group of the Boko Haram terrorist group, claimed responsibility for the attack.
In a video released by the terrorist group, a large group of men with guns and ammunition chanting ‘Allahu Akba’’ and shooting sporadically into the air, set cars ablaze during the attack.
According to a report, the terrorists delivered a 15-minute Quranic lecture to inmates before setting them free.
The Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi had told pressmen that the 64 Boko-Haram terrorists who are inmates of the Kuje Custodial Centre, were at large.
The NCoS has also released a full list of the names and pictures of the escapees from the Kuje prison. The 69 fleeing inmates with terrorism-related cases are;
Abubakar Abdulrahman Habibu
Abubakar Mohammed Sadiq
Adam Lawal Muhammad
Akibu Musa Danjuma
Amodu Omale Salihu
Ismail Idris Abdullahi
Yasir Ibrahim Salihu
Abubakar Mohammed Musa
Asama Haruna Kanti
Bassey Victor Kingsley
Mohammed Goni Kyari
Mohammed Saleh Buba
Mukhtar Ussaini Khalidu
Umar Ahmadu Ladan
Yahaya Adamu Abubakar
Mansur Mohammed Usman
Mohammed Jamiu Eneji Sani
Muhammed Sani Adamu
Nambil Zakari Gambo
Sadiq Garba Abubakar
Yazid Muhammed Usman
Yusuf Ali Yusuf