The federal government said on Thursday it had thwarted another escape attempt following the attack on the Kuje Correctional Facility in early July 2022.
Home Minister Rauf Aregbesola revealed this at the 64th session of the State House ministerial briefing hosted by the Presidential Communications Team at Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
Although Aregbesola did not specify which correctional facility he was referring to, he said those behind the attack had been “sent to their creator.”
He also boasted that no fleeing inmate could hide forever as their biometric data has been permanently stored in the Nigerian Police database.
On the night of July 5, 2022, armed individuals stormed the Kuje Correctional Center located in a satellite city in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
After the shooting, which lasted for hours, more than 400 inmates believed to be linked to the Boko Haram sect escaped. Four of the fleeing inmates, security personnel and several gunmen lost their lives.
Answering questions about the root cause of perennial jailbreaks, Aregbesola said: “It’s the season. I know you don’t want to hear it. Have we had what we have today in Nigeria before? It’s the season and it’s global.
“Why do we have murders in America? As bad as it is, it’s horrible, but in America, people are dying every second. In California, in the last week in the United States, 20 people have died. Did you ask why? It has nothing to do with technology; it could even be related to climate change.
“When things are tough, people who can’t handle their own stability turn to that kind of thing. It cannot be said that there is no terrorism in Nigeria; we are managing it. It cannot be said that there is no banditry in Nigeria; we are managing it. It is because of the level of insecurity in Nigeria, and we are up to it. It’s as simple as that”.
He assured Nigerians that future breakouts will be difficult and that some of those who attempted after Kuje have been “sent to their maker”.
“So we’re doing everything we can to make sure it’s hard for anyone to attack our facilities. You may not know that some tried and we have returned them to their creator.
“Take it; it’s not game as usual anymore. We’re equipping our men to, on their own, defend those facilities. And those sister agencies are also increasing their ability to protect and defend our facilities. And we’re improving the design of our facilities to make them almost impregnable.
“So it’s sad; we are not happy that the facility is under attack. But it’s a seasonal function and we’ll be kidding ourselves if we don’t admit it. So we’re ready for it. Whoever tries to defy our will, will not live to tell about it, ”she threatened.
According to the minister, the federal government has done everything possible by capturing the biometrics of all inmates nationwide.
He said: “As of today, there is not a single inmate in our facility who is not biomedically captured and that is the best we can do. We’re still working on the DNA, another way to identify them.
“We have met with all the agencies and institutions that can use the biometrics we have to track and arrest them. They are doing everything they can. The most effective agency to capture them remains the police. They are doing wonderfully well. As I would normally tell people, they can only run; They can’t hide.”
Aregebsola revealed that his administration had built 112 new detention centers across the country; and he is building a state-of-the-art Custody Center with a capacity for 3,000 people in each of the six geopolitical zones.
“The one for the northwest located in Janguza, Kano state, has already reached 90 percent completion,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the home minister revealed that N3.19 trillion worth of property has been lost in various fire incidents across the country between 2015 and 2022.
A breakdown of the Fire Service details showed that in 2015, 2016 and 2017, N15.7 billion, N1.65 billion and N5.18 billion worth of property was lost in fire incidents.
In 2018, 2019 and 2020, Nigerians lost Naira 26.71 billion, Naira 16.46 billion and Naira 32.12 billion respectively due to fires. While N3.05bn and N46bn were lost in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
In contrast, N25.32tn worth of valuables were salvaged from various fire incidents across the country, Aregbesola revealed.
The breakdown is as follows: N57.50bn (2015), N16.6bn (2016), N426.5bn (2017), N2.84tn (2018), N1.18bn (2019), N1.35tn (2020), N18. 99tn (2021) and N448.4bn (2022). During the period under review, 2,244 people were saved from fire accidents, as 366 people died.