The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, on Monday, said efforts by security agencies to prevent terrorists from attacking the Nigerian Correctional Service’ Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje, Abuja, failed despite having the intelligence.
Aregebesola, in his presentation at the investigative hearing of the House of Representatives on the jailbreak, disclosed that no fewer than 65 armed security were deployed in the facility to prevent the attack.
The minister blamed the incident on the general insecurity in the country.
This is just as the House’s joint committee carrying out the investigation summoned the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Dingyadi; Service Chiefs and the Director, Defence Intelligence Agency, to its next hearing on Thursday.
Aregbesola said, “On the day of the invasion, there were 31 military personnel of the Nigerian Army, five personnel of MOPOL 21, five personnel of MOPOL 50, two personnel of the Counter Terrorism Unit of the Nigeria Police, two personnel of Kuje Police Division, seven personnel of Nigerian Immigration Service, three personnel of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, and 10 personnel of correctional armed squad. These 65 people were there for specific responsibility of resisting and preventing any attack, and they were all armed.
“Because of the presence of the pressmen here, I would not tell you the grades of arsenals in their possession, but they were well armed. If we had a more exclusive arrangement, I would give you specific grades of equipment, military arsenals; arsenals that were positioned for the defence of the facility. However, in spite of everything, our arrangement of protection of Kuje failed and the facility was breached.”
Chairman of the joint committee, Sha’aban Sharada, decried that the attack lasted for several hours without any formidable resistance from the security personnel deployed in the facility or adequate response from the security agencies in the Federal Capital Territory despite the proximity of the Nigerian Air Force station at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
While the jailbreak occurred on July 5, 2022, the House had on July 21 resolved to probe into the circumstances surrounding the attack on the facility.