Kuje was Nigeria’s ‘most fortified’ prison, Aregebesola worried over attack

Kuje prison attack

The Kuje detention center that was attacked by terrorists on Tuesday was Nigeria’s most heavily fortified prison, Home Minister Rauf Aregebesola said.

Aregebesola said this in a statement on Friday after visiting the prison.

The minister said that although the prison is officially a “medium” security prison, it is the most fortified in the country.

“There was a Nigerian Army platoon with sophisticated weapons, elite men from the Nigerian Police Force, Nigerian Civil Defense and Security officers, and armed officers from the Nigerian Correctional Service, on the ground at the time of the attack,” he said.

“Kuje is the most fortified in the country if fortification for security is the determinant of whether it is medium or maximum. It is medium in size but maximum for the security that is there.”

Mr. Aregebesola’s lament over the failure of security officials to prevent the prison attack is similar to that expressed by President Muhammadu Buhari during his brief visit to the prison on Wednesday.

Mr. Buhari wondered how such an attack could have happened despite the presence of the security forces.

However, other officials, such as Defense Minister Bashir Magashi, have argued that the security officials present were overwhelmed by the sheer number of attackers.

Some 300 terrorists are believed to have attacked the prison.

One of the security officers in charge of the prison was killed and four inmates were also killed.

OHAFIA TV News reported that more than 800 inmates initially escaped during the prison attack with about half still at large and the rest re-arrested.

Among those still at large are the more than 60 members of the Boko Haram sect who were being held at the facility.

In his statement on Friday night, Aregebesola said the Buhari government would rise to the challenge posed by the terrorists.

“…we must put whatever is happening now in the context of the asymmetric warfare unleashed on the nation by these criminal elements and we will rise to the occasion, that is the guarantee I want to give Nigerians,” he wrote.

Read the minister’s full statement below.

Today, I led the management of the Ministry of Interior and its agencies on an inspection visit to the Kuje Custody Center which was recently attacked by armed men suspected of being terrorists.

A platoon from the Nigerian Army with sophisticated weapons, elite men from the Nigerian Police Force, Nigerian Civil Defense and Security officers, and armed officers from the Nigerian Correctional Service, was on the ground at the time of the attack.

We have a world-class facility by any standard. I am disappointed with the level of defense. We had enough men to protect the facility, but unfortunately, they couldn’t hold their position effectively for defense and that was the reason for the breach.

Interior Minister Rauf Aregebesola visits the Kuje prison after the attack.

Now my position is so clear, I have declared since April of last year that all our facilities are red zones, and whoever attempts an attack may not live to tell about it. I still keep this.

Kuje is the most fortified in the country if security fortification is the determinant of whether it is medium or maximum. It is medium in size but maximum for the security that is there. We have a platoon of security officers deployed here.

It is very unfortunate that this has happened. As sad as it is, we must put whatever is happening now in the context of the asymmetric warfare unleashed on the nation by these criminal elements and we will rise to the occasion, that is the guarantee I want to give to Nigerians.

By Amos Kalu

A Media Consultant/ICT Expert. Website Developer and CEO/Chief Editor OHAFIA TV News.

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