Insecurity: Sultan calls for prayer, Lawan blames insiders conspiracy in Kuje jailbreak

• End of insurgency not in sight, we need God’s intervention, Sultan says
• Senate decries lack of CCTV, other tracking gadgets
• Wadume, kidnap kingpin among Kuje escapees
• CSOs call for immediate sack of NSA, Ministers of Interior, Defen

The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of Jama’atu Nasir Islam (JNI), Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Sa’ad, has urged Muslims in the country to fast and pray for the nation over the current security challenges, while lamenting that the terrorist onslaught may not end soon.

The Sultan urged both Nigerians that are performing holy pilgrimage in Mecca and those in Nigeria to engage in fervent prayers for the nation and its leaders to surmount the present insecurity.

In a statement issued by the Secretary-General of JNI, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, yesterday, the Sultan called on Nigerian Muslims to “please, in the name of Allah, fervently supplicate to Allah for His intervention and an end to the myriad challenges bedevilling the country.

“Similarly, with 2023 general elections fast approaching, we need to also seek Allah’s apt intervention for stability, security, peace and development of Nigeria. Indisputably, as people of faith, we must submit ourselves to Allah, especially since all efforts geared towards restoration of peace and order seem to defy solutions.”

The fervent plea for supplication came two days after a dastardly attack by terrorists on the Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre in Abuja.

PRESIDENT of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has indicated that the attack could only have been possible with the collaboration of insiders within the nation’s correctional system.

Lawan, who stated this, yesterday, when he led a delegation of the Senate leadership to assess the level of attack on the correctional facility, said the attack speaks volumes about the failure of the country’s security architecture.

He berated the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) for not providing Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) at the facility and others across the country.

The Senate President asked the Comptroller-General of the NCS, Haliru Nababa, to include a request for the provision of CCTVs for all maximum and medium correctional centres across the country in its 2023 budget proposal to the National Assembly for approval.

Speaking after an assessment of the correctional facility, Lawan said: “The attack on this correctional facility is symptomatic of the failure of security. The attack is only a culmination of the failure.

“We were told that an estimated 300 terrorists attacked this facility. They came on foot, and I believe they should have been detected. In the first place, 300 people will not come for an operation like this without planning.

“Planning must have taken a week, a month or a bit more. I believe that our security agencies should have picked this from their tracking systems in the FCT.

“Secondly, having gone round the facility itself, we are disappointed that this facility does not have CCTV cameras, something that would record and give you details of what is happening and sometimes record the events. If we had CCTV, at least the records would have been there and analysis made, and an arrest will be based on the information from the CCTV.

“Thirdly, going from one cell to another to release people, specifically, those that are known to be insurgents, tells a lot of stories. It may not be far away from an insider job, someone who is either working in this place or must have worked here.

Briefing the lawmakers earlier, the Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Army Battalion in Gwagwalada, Lieutenant Colonel Adisa, told the Senate leadership that only a total of 50 security personnel were on ground when the terrorists armed with IEDs stormed the facility to release the insurgents.

NOTORIOUS kidnapper and gunrunner, Hamisu Wadume, is reported to be among the escapees of the Tuesday night attack. Wadume, who was remanded in custody for armed robbery, kidnapping and gun-running after his arrest by operatives of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), has not been found since the event.

It was gathered that the suspect, who has been in custody at Kuje prisons since 2020, was not among prisoners recaptured by security agencies.

Recall that Wadume was arrested by IRT operatives in Taraba for terrorising the people of the state with his criminal activities. The IRT operatives came under heavy firing by soldiers of 93 Battalion, Takum, in Taraba, killing three police officers and one civilian in the process.

The soldiers who also rescued Wadume from the IRT operatives were said to have carried out the operation on the orders of their commanding officer, Major Balarabe. The suspect was later rearrested by the police in Kano and brought to Abuja, where he was charged to court and remanded to prison.

MEANWHILE, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), Centre for Democratic and Security Reforms has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Minister of Defence for what it described as laxity and gross failure to coordinate operations in the face of ever daring terrorist activities in the country.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, yesterday, Executive Secretary of the group, Alhaji Shettima Ibn Hamisu, wondered why terrorists numbering more than 300 and riding on motorcycles could attack a medium-security prison housing high-profile criminals under the nose of the NSA without being challenged.

“We are appalled by the barbaric and dastard attacks that took place in the Federal Capital Territory on a medium prison facility where the office of the NSA is headquartered. It is shameful that the NSA has woefully failed to gather and coordinate operations even within a few kilometres from his office and residence. This is totally unacceptable and must be sacked to pave way for a competent Nigerian who will resuscitate operations coordination of the comatose state the current occupant of the office has left it,” he said.

The CSO lamented the inability to send reinforcements to the scene of the attack after almost three hours of non-stop attacks and guns, noting that the only person charged with the responsibility for coordinating other security agencies is the NSA, who sadly failed woefully to act.

Also, the civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has said the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, should be sacked with immediate effect over his consistent failure to stop attacks on prisons in the country.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, said it was distasteful and condemnable that over 15 jailbreaks have occurred under Aregbesola in the last five years, while over 3,000 inmates have escaped.

The group also urged President Buhari to stop asking rhetorical questions on social media about how the intelligence system of the country failed to detect Tuesday’s attack at Kuje prison in Abuja.

HURIWA said the President should immediately set up a judicial panel of inquiry on prison breaks in Nigeria and ensure that such assaults on the entire security apparatus of Nigeria do not recur.

“The spate of jailbreaks under President Buhari and Aregbesola is alarming and condemnable. Even under then-President Goodluck Jonathan, who had no military experience or background, jailbreaks weren’t as rampant as what Nigerians see these days.

“The frequent and recurring jailbreaks show the inefficiency of all those President Buhari appointed into office and his unwillingness to sack them shows also that the President tacitly wants the situation to continue to fester.

“HURIWA demands the arrest of the persons who gave order purportedly for withdrawal of soldiers before the attack. HURIWA also demands the sacking of Aregbesola; and his Defence counterpart, Bashir Magashi; for perpetual incompetence. We also call for a broad-based judicial panel of inquiry on prison breaks in Nigeria to be constituted.”


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