Senate President Ahmad Lawan is angry, very angry. After a visit to the Kuje Correctional Services -which was attacked by the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), a notorious terrorist group on Tuesday where hundreds of inmates including all Boko Haram suspects escaped- Lawan said the incident indicates failure of security.
Lawan also expressed disappointment over the unavailability of closed circuit television (CCTV) at the centre, and asked the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) to ensure it is listed in the 2023 budget for the security agency.
“The attack on this correctional facility is symptomatic of the failure of security failure. The attack is only a culmination of the failure,” Lawan said, in a statement by his media aide, Ezrel Tabiowo.
“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, three hundred 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 Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras, something that would record and give you details of what is happening and sometimes record the events.
“This is a medium security custodial center. How in the FCT facility of this magnitude we don’t have CCTV? It means we can say that all other medium security centers across the country do not have CCTV.
“We have asked the Comptroller General of Correctional Centre to ensure that the request for CCTV at the maximum and medium custodial centres of the country is included in their 2023 budget because this is essential and indispensable.
“Now, as this facility lacks a functional CCTV, there’s no record of what happened, except narration. But if we had CCTV, at least the records would have been there and analysis made, and arrest will be based on the information from the CCTV.”
Lawan also said a probe of the incident should focus on if the attack involved insiders.
“Going from one cell to another to release people, specifically, those that are known to be insurgents, tells a lot of story. It may not be far away from an insider job, someone who is either working in this place or must have worked here,” the lawmaker said.
“I think we have to look deeper into what happened, so that we find the culprits, because when things like this happens, then there should be sanctions. Where people fail to do their job properly, and they have been given that responsibility, they should be asked to take responsibility.
“If people don’t take responsibility for their failure, then it means nobody would bother to do what is expected of their office or the job that the person has been given.
“Having this kind of situation today in the FCT, which we have criminals who are free now all over the city, is very dangerous and you can never have peace of mind.
“The FCT has the seat of government, and today, that seat is not safe. So, we have to do whatever it takes to get everybody back.”