Criminal Law

Kuje Prisons: Factors that aided terrorists attack

By Abubakar Hashim

The Kuje Correctional attack on July 5, 2022 was a sad episode in Nigeria’s security architecture. Kuje is a suburb in Abuja, about 30 minutes drive from Aso Rock, where President Mohammadu Buhari works and sleeps. Ditto the Three Arms Zone where Presidency, Legislature and Judiciary are located. This makes the attack so serious.

There are three crucial reasons why Kuje was easily attacked:

  • Kuje correctional centre is a medium size prison, with more of suspects than of convicts. Boko Haram suspects and other hard core criminals awaiting trials since 2010.
  • CCTV cameras, though installed, are non functional. The Senate President, Sen Ahmed Lawan expressed dismay on non functioning of the CCTV cameras during his visit.
  • There was also failure of coordinated intelligence as revealed by President Buhari on his assessment tour of the facility before travelling out to Dakar for the Arica summit.

Kuje is surrounded by thick forest that spans to Kaduna, casting suspicion of a possible link to the train attack in Kaduna on 5 March 2022. Again, after 100 days after the train attack in Kaduna, terrorists still operate in the forest.

It is more disconcerting that currently, 64 hardened Boko Haram criminals escaped from the Kuje centre, now let loose in Abuja environs and other peripheral zones in the capital city. This attack could have been avoided and couldn’t have been allowed to happen. It is also disheartening that no resistance during the attack, raising eyebrows that there was a likely insider connivance….

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