The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesol, has conceded that security operatives failed to forestall the terrorists’ attack on the Kuje Custodial Centre, Abuja on July 5, 2022, amid the efforts and equipment put in place.
The minister, who was speaking at an investigative hearing by the House of Representatives Joint Committee investigating the attack, said that there were 65 well-armed security agents meant to resist the attack, but failed, adding that the number of escapees were 888 persons.
The House was expressing concern that the attack lasted for hours without any visible intervention made by security agents to forestall it.
Aregbesola said, “On the day of the invasion, there were 31 military personnel of the Nigerian Army, five personnel of MPOL 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 Nigeria Immigration, three personnel of Nigeria 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 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.
“On the night of the attack, Kuje accommodated 994 inmates out of which 64 were terror suspects, Boko Haram, the Islamic State of West African Province and others. 888 inmates escaped during the attack, among them 554 awaiting trial persons. 71 were convicts, 36 were on death row and 17 were on life imprisonment. 106 refused to leave the facility during the attack while 28 inmates who left the facility voluntarily returned between the 6th and 15th of July, 2022.”