Buhari laments intelligence failure as sources allege official complicity

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Wednesday, said he was disappointed by the loopholes in the country’s intelligence system which the terrorists exploited in attacking the prison facility.

According to a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari said this when he visited the Medium Security Custodial Centre, en route to the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, from where he flew to Dakar, Senegal, ahead of the International Development Association for Africa Summit holding on Thursday (today).

The statement is titled ‘Buhari visits Kuje, asks questions about intelligence and why prison defences failed to work.’

Speaking to journalists after the assessment, he said, “I am disappointed with the intelligence system. How can terrorists organize, have weapons, attack a security installation and get away with it?”

According to Shehu, the President was briefed about the attack by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr. Shuaib Belgore and the Controller-General of Nigerian Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa, who  showed him the bombed-out section used to access the facility and the records office which was set on fire, after which the invaders launched an attack on all cells in which Boko Haram terrorists were held.

The President was told that none of the 64 terrorists is unaccounted for, but their records are available.

Buhari, who expressed shock over the scale and audacity of the attack queried: “How did the defences at the prison fail to prevent the attack? How many inmates were in the facility? How many of them can you account for? How many personnel did you have on duty? How many of them were armed? Were there guards on the watchtower? What did they do? Does the CCTV work?”

He was also informed that the security forces have recaptured 350 of the escapees while about 450 others are still unaccounted for, and that rapid work is underway to re-arrest the rest.

The President, accompanied by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, and his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, said he is expecting “a comprehensive report” on the incident.

Following the two attacks on the Presidential convoy and the prison, Nigerians condemned Buhari’s decision to proceed with his trip to Dakar.

But speaking to State House Correspondents, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina said it was expedient for Buhari to make the trip at such a time.

According to him, “Yes, the president should go because there’s an international conference meant for heads of states and presidents, he should attend.

“You should never give in to terrorists. The moment theories begin to stop you from doing things, then we might as well throw up our hands in surrender. The President should go ahead. Yes, it’s an international obligation.”

Addressing journalists at the custodial centre, the Minister of Defence, Maj Gen Bashir Magashi (retd.) confirmed that the 64 Boko Haram terrorists were freed from custody.

He said, “We are trying to see what we can do to see that all escapes within the prison accommodation are brought back to the prison yard. About 994 inmates, we have about 600 already inside now.

“Many people are being captured. The people who came to do this from the records belong to a particular group, from all indicators they are Boko haram. Presently we could not locate any of them. Currently, there are about 64 of them as inmates and we could not locate them.”

Also, the  Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Dr Shuaib  Belgore disclosed  that those behind the attack were Boko Haram terrorists who came specifically for their members held in the custody, adding that reinforcement came when the terrorists  were ‘halfway through to the attack.’

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