On 5th July, 2022, there was a sad and sudden incident of invasion of the Kuje Custodial Centre, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by some suspected terrorists in which hundreds of inmates were reported to have been set freed by the said suspected terrorists including a number of some terrorists under lawful custody of the Nigerian government! This breaking news has thrown the entire nation into tension over likely attacks on the lives and property of innocent citizens and the unsafe aftermath of the Nigerian communities, on the roads, trains, air, at homes, etc.! in my humble assessment of this security breach, I am of the firm observation that this invasion could have been averted from happening had the Nigerian government complied with the extant provisions of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019-herein after referred to as NCSA-, hence, this topic.
First and foremost, by section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended)-herein after referred to as the Constitution, ‘security’ and ‘welfare’ of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. Government under this section, in my humble view, refers to the executive and the legislature as arms of government which are in charge of ensuring the security and welfare of the people and are directly also in charge of the resources to make provisions for these two purposes i.e. security and welfare. The judiciary on the other hand though an arm of government, does not have the power to ensure security and welfare as the main functions of the judiciary is to interpret the law and to settle disputes between or among litigants. Therefore, the Nigerian government (i.e. the legislature and the executive arms of government) shall at all time, be held responsible any time that there is insecurity and non-provision of welfare to Nigerian citizens. It would also be observed that the present Federal government with due respect, has indeed scored a very low point on security and welfare of Nigerian citizens, so far! Economically, living has become very difficult for a number of Nigerians in the majority! The N-Power humanitarian scheme established by the Federal Government has been submerged in corruption. Many of these N-Power beneficiaries do not get paid of their monthly allowance as at when due! A number of them are still being held their monthly benefits of some months till date with no iota of concern by the Federal authorities in charge of the scheme! Why can this be or happen to Nigerians?! Nigerians are living on fears of likely invasion by unknown gun men, terrorists, etc. Living has always been on emotional and psychological tensions of attacks! Therefore, the Nigerian government needs to be more serious with the security and welfare of Nigerian citizens and these two purposes should be the primary manifestos of any aspirant to the Presidential office in Nigeria at any given election and the criteria for considering any aspirant credible for being voted into office by the Nigerian citizens and electorates, especially, at this coming 2023 General Elections-both legislative offices and the Executive offices at both the Federal and the State levels!
Now, section 28 of the NCSA clearly provides thus ‘There shall be provided monitoring devices to protect, control and safeguard correctional activities, including observatory towers, double perimeter walls, close circuit television, body scanners, e-monitoring devices, electrically activated alarm systems and other instruments of restraint. (2) The Correctional Service shall establish and maintain a fully equipped armed squads, intelligence and investigation unit to enhance security, surveillance, monitoring, intelligence gathering and protection’. From the above section of the NCSA, the question is how much of the requirements in this section 28 of the NCSA have been put in place by the Nigerian government before the July 5, 2022’s attack on the Kuje Prison by the suspected terrorists?! Was there any budgetary allocation for the purpose of this section 28 of the NCSA?! And many other questions begging for answers from the Nigerian government! Therefore, I humbly recommend a detailed investigation into the incident by the National Assembly of all persons in charge of the said correctional/custodial facility including the Minister of Interior and whoever that is found culpable should be brought to book! There is indeed the need for accountability in respect of government’s affairs! Also, I humbly submit that this invasion of the Kuje Prison is a proof of the Nigerian Government’s non-compliance with this section 28 of the NCSA!
Finally, I humbly recommend that the National Assembly and the Federal Executives should collaborate in investigating and finding a lasting solution to this kind of incident to forestall any recurrence of this invasion in any part of the Nigerian correctional centers! The Nigerian government is further advised to forthwith comply with requirements of section 28 of the NCSA in the interest of national security! Also, all the escapees of the prison should be found and brought back to face the law so as to enable the Nigerian civil society to continue to enjoy its peace!
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!