By Igboeli Arinze
No serious country would have watched the news about the attacks on the Kuje Custodial Centre and not feel a tinge of shame. No nation would watch the news and not ask questions about how a rag tag army of misguided religious zealots stormed a prison located within the Federal Capital Territory and then go on to have a field day by releasing their comrades who were held in that same centre. Any nation that does otherwise has no business existing and perhaps should need another bout of colonialism.
Such occurrence remains a blight on the security architecture of the nation and calls to question not only the effectiveness of the security architecture but also the efficiency of those who manage such architecture as well as the integrity of such architecture. The Kuje prison attack is one attack too many and is slowly helping to demystify the nation’s approach to security as presently witnessed.
The question then should be where do we go from here ? Who should bear the brunt for the laxity witnessed before, during and after the attack? Which heads should obviously roll for such a national shame that has made us the laughing stock of the comity of nations? If Kuje could fall in so short a time and with little or no resistance by members of the security personnel found there is it not possible that such could be replicated in other areas of immense import to the Nigerian nation? With airports , schools, shopping malls, embassies military barracks and bases lying at the mercy of these terrorists? It may be that we have been running on a wrong road and may very much need to break such a pattern!
President Muhammadu Buhari while breaking protocol to visit the centre following the attack just before he headed to Senegal lamented on the failure of our intelligence services to help detect, plan and foil the attack. Had the intelligence units being up and doing they would have marshaled the resources adequately needed to repel such an attack, probably nip it in the bud before the bandits arrived in Kuje. While understanding that the war against terrorism is much of an asymmetric war and thus puts conventional intelligence gathering under much strain, there is still the fact that for such an attack to have occurred in the FCT, there must have been a build up and coordinated movements of men ,materials and arms between their bases and Abuja, how our security agencies with such intelligence failed to nip this in the bud before these terrorists struck is indeed alarming. Now the DSS has come out to say that they got such notice of an impending attack and passed it to the “necessary authorities” The question is who did the SSS pass the information to ? Did the institution feel that it was enough to have passed such to the leadership of Kuje prisons only? Was the National Security Adviser briefed? If he wasn’t then we need to ask why? If he was then we ask what steps did he take to prevent all of this from happening.
Again, what sort of policy sees the remanding of terrorists in one single facility? I mean what kind of security text books or manuals are these guys reading or implementing? What sort of security architecture accommodates these kind of criminals in one shared space where they can easily have access to each other?
Finally, the fact that these terrorists had a field day and could with ease move within the correctional facility and release their comrades goes to show that the Nigerian security architecture is saturated with fifth columnists and persons sympathetic to certain causes both domestic and foreign that seek to much undermine the territorial integrity of Nigeria. When President Goodluck Jonathan cried out while he was president that Boko Haram has infiltrated his government and had recruited their acolytes into the government then and security agencies,many of us thought that it was merely his incompetence that was speaking. Today, while still not taking anything away from such incompetence, recent events suggest such a statement to be true.
While we await the comprehensive report as ordered by President Buhari, it is important to draw the attention to our authorities to the glaring fact that whatever pattern presently being used by the security outfits of our nation in its bid to tackle insecurity is not effectively working and there is indeed dire need for a rejigging!
With the continuous news of kidnaps and attacks which have led to the loss of lives of our citizens and the reduced confidence in the ability of our security agencies to effectively protect the lives and properties of the citizenry, the present authorities need no auguries to know such.
Igboeli Arinze is the Managing Editor of HawkEye Communications publishers of RPN