Nigeria: In Search for Jailbreakers, Soldiers Take Over Abuja, Mount Strategic Roadblocks
Abuja, Benin City — As the search for some of the terrorists, who escaped from the Kuje Correctional Centre in the wake of an attack by members of ISWAP terrorist group, stern-looking soldiers have been deployed in Abuja, with roadblocks mounted in some major locations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
This development, however, coincided with the narration by the Director of the Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) in the FCT, Dr Hassan Suleiman, who gave account of his ordeal while held captive by terrorists, who attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train on Mach 28, 2022.
Relatedly, operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), have arrested one of the wanted members of the terror group, who escaped from the Medium Security Correctional Centre, Kuje, following an attack on the facility by insurgents last week in Abuja.
However, in view of the current situation in Abuja, many pedestrians were caught in the heavy traffic on the Abuja-Keffi Road on Sunday night following a roadblock mounted by soldiers stationed opposite Mogadishu Barracks, otherwise, called Abacha Barracks.
The barricade caused some gridlock that morphed from the Nyanya bound side of the barracks to as far as AYA bridge.
The traffic has also caused many vehicles heading towards Nyanya, Mararaba, Karu, New Karu, Keffi, and Jos among other places, to be trapped on the road into the early hours of yesterday.
Apart from Abuja-Keffi road, THISDAY also gathered that soldiers had set up barriers in Madala on the Zuba-Abuja-Kaduna express road in their hunt for some of the Kuje prison escapees, who might contemplate infiltrating Niger, Kaduna and Nasarawa States that border the FCT.
The manhunt followed report that one of the Kuje inmates was caught in Nasarawa State on Friday.
Meanwhile, Suleiman, who was one of the seven captives freed on Saturday by bandits, who bombed the Kaduna-bound train on March, 28, 2022 and abducted 62 passengers, has detailed his unpleasant experience while in captivity.
In an audio message sent via WhatsApp, the FCT UBEB boss, who was on his way to Kaduna for an education progarmme organised by UBEB, described his experience as hell and prayed for his enemy never to experience same.
“Good morning, my brothers and sisters in FCT ANCOPPS, and other well-wishers. This is Dr Hassan Sule. I just want to extend my warm appreciation over prayers that led to our release by terrorists on Saturday,” he said in a creaky voice.
He said although he did not sustain any injury during the attack, many of the passengers were inflicted with injuries while some lost their lives.
He thanked the residents of the FCT and members of the All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary (ANCOPPS) and others for their show of solidarity.
NDLEA Arrests Wanted Kuje Jailbreaker with Drugs, Police Nab Another
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), have arrested one of the wanted members of the terror group, who escaped from the Medium Security Correctional Centre, Kuje, following an attack on the facility by insurgents, last week, in Abuja.
A press statement by the spokesman of the NDLEA, Mr. Femi Babafemi, stated that, the fleeing terror suspect, Suleiman Sidi, was arrested in the early hours of Monday at Area 1 motorpark, in the Federal Capital Territory, while attempting to board a commercial vehicle to Maiduguri, Borno State.
Babafemi said upon searching, three wraps of cannabis sativa were found on him, adding that during preliminary interrogation, the wanted terror suspect confirmed he was remanded at the Kuje Correctional Centre for terrorism and robbery charges.
He also confirmed that he was indeed one of the inmates, who escaped from the facility last Tuesday.
In a related development, the Police Command in Niger State, has said it also recaptured Kazeem Murtala, one of the inmates, who escaped during the Kuje jailbreak.
Spokesman for the command, Wasiu Abiodun, in a statement explained that a patrol team on surveillance between the General Hospital, Suleja and Bakassi, arrested the inmate on July 9 at 8:30pm.
Abiodun explained that based on credible intelligence, the police patrol team arrested the inmate at an unidentified compound.
During interrogation, the inmate was said to have confessed that he escaped from Kuje custodial center during the attack and had been in custody for two years for an offence he committed.
Group Decries Increasing Spate of Insecurity in Edo
A socio-cultural and non-political organisations, Esan Okpa Initiative (EOI), has decried the rising security crisis in Edo State, leading to the upsurge in kidnapping and other violent crimes.
As a result, the group claimed that the situation now threatens economic and social life, and therefore, called on government and other stakeholders to brace up and address the issue, adding: “Life here is akin to Thomas Hobbes brutish State of nature.”
In a statement released in Benin City and signed by its President, Mr. Mathew Egbadon; pioneer speaker, Edo State House of Assembly as well as the Public Relations Officer, Mr Tony Iyare and Esan Okpa, it asked both the state and federal governments to urgently rejig their security architectures to strike a chord and synergy between the security agencies, the communities and local vigilante groups to smoke out the criminal elements, who now appear to have free reign, committing mayhem and turning the state into a killing field.
The organisation, welcomed the recent security meeting convened by the Acting Governor, Mr Philip Shaibu, with traditional rulers, LGC heads, vigilantes and hunters, which gave concrete deadlines to exiting armed herdsmen from Edo forests within 10 days, and described it as a positive step.
He, however, observed that the security arrangements in the state should not be subjected to eclectic responses and mere showmanship but directed at harnessing human and material resources to keep the state safe from criminal elements, who are now on the prowl with the alleged support of some persons in high places.
Furthermore, it urged the government to be more proactive in effectively dealing with the issue rather than tailing it in order to reassure the citizenry that governance was not on recess in Edo State.
“Security of lives and properties in Edo State, particularly, on the roads in the State, has become so threatened that it seems as if the government has given up and surrendered to the hoodlums.”