NIGERIA’S Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has called on Nigerians to be calm and vigilant, saying the Federal Government is committed to their safety and wellbeing.
Aregbesola made the call while reacting to the Tuesday attack on prison in Kuje where some inmates escaped.
The minister, in a press release by his Media Adviser, Sola Fasure, yesterday said efforts are in place to arrest the fleeing convicts, urging members of the public to report movement of strange persons to nearest police station.
He stated that the Nigeria Correctional Service had earlier been directed to urgently work with other security agencies to fortify all correctional centres in the country and insulate them against future attacks after an attack on the Correctional facility in Abolongo, Oyo state in October 2021.
Aregbesola added that the NCoS system is primed to prevent and foil internal disturbance and riot, not external attacks/invasion, since the facilities were built around police and military formation.
The statement reads: “The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has been briefed on the full scale armed invasion of the medium security correctional facility in Kuje, Abuja, by gunmen late Tuesday, in which some of the inmates escaped.
“The security officers on duty fiercely engaged them and inflicted a heavy casualty on them. Regrettably, given their unprecedented number, they overpowered the officers on duty. One of the security personnel that engaged the attackers was unfortunately killed. May his soul rest in peace.
“Calm and normalcy have since been returned to the Centre.
“Preliminary investigation indicates that the Boko Haram sect may have been responsible for the attack. The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), in conjunction with other security agencies, are working to bring back in the escaped inmates.
“After the Abolongo, Oyo State, attack on a correctional facility, in October last year, it became apparent that a new form of attack for which our system was not prepared for had emerged. Our system was primed to prevent and foil internal disturbance and riots, not external attacks/invasion, since the facilities were usually built around police and military formations.
“The minister then directed that the NCoS urgently work with other security agencies to fortify all correctional centres in the country and insulate them against future attacks, among other measures introduced.
“This was carried out, as well armed soldiers, police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) officers were drafted to our facilities nationwide, to secure them against further attacks. Several but unsuccessful attempts were made to attack our facilities since then, as the armed guards repelled them on each occasion.
“We are working with the Ministry of Defence and the Office of the National Security Adviser as well as other intelligence and security agencies to ensure that the attackers and the escaped inmates are captured and returned to custody. As we speak, security personnel are combing the whole area, up to a distance of 100 kilometres radius, looking for them.
“All checkpoints nationwide have been put on alert. More than 400 of them have been brought in and more are still coming.
“We appeal to all residents to be calm but vigilant. Security is a collective work between government and the citizens. Kindly therefore report all suspicious individuals and activities to the nearest security agency around you. We appeal also to doctors and medical workers to treat and then immediately report anyone with gunshot wounds to the law enforcement agency.
“The Minister has directed that all correctional facilities in the country be fortified; that all personnel be vigilant and alert, to avoid recurrence”.
“Aregbesola has directed that full investigation into the incident be carried out and he should be briefed as soon as possible and If any complicity is established, he promised that appropriate actions would be taken.”