Senate President,Ahmad Lawan yesterday said the attack that recently occured at Kuje prison in Abuja was made possible by the perpetrators in collaboration with the insiders at the prison.
The Senate President described the attack as totally unacceptable .
Lawan spoke in Abuja when he led a delegation of the leadership of the Senate to assess the level of attack on the prison.
He said an attack on the Kuje Medium Security Prison could only have been possible with the collaboration of insiders in the nation’s prison system.
Lawan who was furious by the incident was accompanied by his Deputy, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, and other principal officers,lawmakers on the Senate delegation, which also had some members of the Committee on National Security and Intelligence,they were conducted around the facility by the Controller-General of Prisons, Haliru Nababa.
They wondered how 300 ISWAP operatives accessed the premises of the prison on foot, forced their way into the various cells and released over 800 inmates for over an hour without any counter offensive from security personnel on ground.
Lawan asked the Controller-General of Prisons to include a request for the provision of CCTV across maximum and medium prisons across the country in its 2023 budget proposal to the National Assembly for approval.
Speaking after an assessment of thefacility, Lawan said: “This is unacceptable and will not be condoned. For CCTV and other relevant tracking gadgets not to be functional is highly disturbing and dangerous for the security of inmates and residents of the Federal Capital Territory.
“The way the operation was even carried out, based on inspection made by us, strongly indicate insiders’ connivance which must be critically looked into.
“The attack on this 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 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 prison. How on earth in the FCT a facility of this magnitude will not have CCTV? It means we can say that all other medium security centres across the country do not have CCTV.
“We have asked the Controller-General of Prisons to ensure 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 analyses made, and 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 story.
“It may not be far away from an insider job, someone who is either working in this place or must have worked here. I think we have to look deeper into what happened, so we can find the culprits, because when things like this happen, 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 his office or job.
“Having this kind of situation today in the FCT, that 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.”
Lawan tasked security agencies to ensure the insurgents who escaped from the Kuje medium prisons are apprehended and brought back.