*We’re putting INTERPOL on notice with their details, in case any of them attempts fleeing outside our shores — INTERIOR MINISTRY
By Boluwaji Obahopo & Omeiza Ajayi
The Federal Government yesterday enlisted the help of the International Police Organisation, INTERPOL, to track gunmen who attacked Kabba Prisons in Kogi State late Sunday night, killing a soldier and policeman manning security at the facility.
The gunmen also set free no fewer than 240 prisoners from the prisons in the attack in which two prisons’ personnel were also declared missing.
Government’s appeal to INTERPOL was to assist in tracking and arresting prisoners set free, should they flee beyond Nigerian shores.
The gunmen were said to have first attacked the military men who mounted a road-block some few meters away from the prisons, killed one of the soldiers, while another soldier was badly injured.
The soldiers were said to have mounted a routine check-point about 50 metres before the prison, situated along Lokoja-Kabba highway when the hoodlums came and rained bullets on them before invading the prison facility.
Vanguard gathered that the gunmen also sprayed bullets on an uncompleted building where the soldiers normally hibernate before they broke into the prisons and released all the inmates
Also, some of the correctional officers on guard were injured.
However, three of the escaped prisoners were reportedly re-arrested at about 8.00 am beside Kudon Hotel, Kabba, when they made effort to board a vehicle to escape to Ilorin, yesterday.
Confirming the incident, Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 8, Ayuba Edeh, said the state Commissioner of Police and other heads of security agencies in the state had swung into action to do an assessment of the cause of the attack.
Investigations on-going — Kogi govt
The state government said investigations were ongoing to unravel those behind the early Monday morning attack.The state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo, said: “We can confirm that some gunmen attacked the Kabba Custodial Centre but investigations are still on to clearly ascertain the number of inmates that escaped from the centre. We also lost two security operatives.
That is the number we have at the moment.“The State Security Adviser, Commander Jerry Omodara, retd, is currently at the centre with the Kogi State Commissioner of Police and the Commander, Army Records, Lokoja. Security agencies have zeroed in to ensure those who escaped are re-arrested as well as trail masterminds of the attack.
“We have confidence in our security agencies to unmask the masterminds responsible for the attack and get them apprehended.
Our security network has led to the rearrest of majority of the inmates that escaped as some have also come back to the facility on their own.
“Security agencies, traditional rulers and local hunters are working in synergy to ensure normalcy. We urge Kogi citizens and citizens of neighbouring states to help volunteer information that will ensure the apprehension of the masterminds of the dastardly act.
“Our people should go about their normal businesses as security agencies are doing their best to ensure security of lives and property in the face of the unfortunate breach.”
How attack occurred, by prisons official
Also confirming the attack, spokesman of the Nigerian Prisons Service, Francis Enobore, in a statement yesterday, said the incident took place at about 2345hrs on September 12, 2021.“The Medium Security Custodial Centre (MSCC) in Kabba, Kogi State has been attacked by yet-to-be identified gunmen and 240 inmates forcibly released.“The attackers in their numbers were said to have arrived at the Custodial Centre heavily armed and immediately engaged the armed guards in a fierce gun battle.“The Controller-General of Corrections, Haliru Nababa, has ordered a recapture procedure to be activated immediately and detailed investigation carried out, even as he personally leads a team to assess the situation.“He appeals to the general public to provide useful intelligence that will assist in recapturing the escapees to security operatives.“Kabba MSCC was established in 2008 with a capacity of 200. At the time of the invasion, 294 inmates were in custody out of which 224 are pre-trial detainees and 70 convicted inmates.”
Attack casualties, by Interior ministry
Similarly, Sola Fasure, Media Adviser to the Minister of Interior,Sola Fasure, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, said the minister had been briefed by the Controller-General of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS), Haliru Nababa, on the attack.
He stated: “During the attack, security officers on duty which comprised 15 soldiers, 10 Police officers and 10 armed guards of the NCoS on duty fought gallantly to repel the attack.
Regrettably, two officers of the Correctional Service are yet to be accounted for, while one soldier and a policeman lost their lives during the attack.
“The Kabba Custodial facility had 294 inmates as at the time of the attack, many of whom escaped after the gunmen used explosives to destroy three sides of the perimeter fence.
However, there remains 28 inmates who didn’t escape. Some have also voluntarily returned to the facility as at this morning.
”Noting that INTERPOL had been notified of the attack to help track the gunmen, Fasure said: “The Controller-General of the Nigeria Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa, is currently monitoring the situation. A tour of the facility is also ongoing.
“A Crisis Response Centre has been activated and a Special Task Force mobilized to recapture escaped inmates, while an Inter-Agency Security Task Force is already on the trail of the gunmen who attacked the facility. The public is advised to stay calm as the situation is under control.
“The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, assures the citizenry that Nigeria’s security forces will find the attackers and bring them to justice. We shall leave no stone unturned to bring them back to custody. We are also putting INTERPOL on notice with their details, in case any of them attempts fleeing outside our shores.“We urge the people, especially the communities around the custodial facility, to be vigilant and report any strange and suspicious persons or activities to the nearest law enforcement agency.“To the fleeing inmates, escaping from lawful custody is a serious criminal offence. Law enforcement agencies and citizens are lawfully empowered to use all necessary means to arrest and bring you to justice. You should therefore know what you are up against. You will however be eligible for mitigation if you wilfully surrender yourselves at the nearest law enforcement office.
“The Nigeria Correctional Service shall not be cowed by elements seeking to compromise the security of our nation; we shall deal with this situation with absolute resolve.”
Security report warned of attack — TheCable
Meanwhile, prior to the attack on the prisons, a security report, according to online platform, TheCable, had warned of the possibility of coordinated attacks in Kogi State, sources privy to the development have told TheCable.
The security report which warned of attacks in Kogi, sources said, had revealed the existence of a plot to make the state insecure, listing Koton-Karfe, Mopamuro, Yagba East, Yagba West, Adavi, Ankpa and Idah as among targeted areas.TheCable understands that the security report also warned of a plan to attack schools in Dekina, Kabba and Lokoja, the state capital. Security operatives are said to have been dispatched to the communities listed in the security report.