– Kabba Jailbreak: Rejigging Kogi's Security ArchitectureTHISDAYLIVE – THISDAY Newspapers
Chiemelie Ezeobi reports that with the recent jailbreak at Kabba Medium Custodial facility in Kogi, it has become imperative for the state’s security architecture to be rejigged to prevent a re-occurrence especially in the light of intelligence reports about a build up of planned attacks
On Sunday, September 12, 2021, some suspected gunmen stormed the premises of Kabba Medium Custodial facility in Kogi State at about 11 pm, shooting sporadically as they practically forced their way in. Upon entering the facility, they freed the 240 inmates and left two two security personnel on duty for dead- a soldier and policeman.
The heavily armed men suspected to be Boko Haram terrorists, were said to have stormed the custodial facility in seven Hilux Vans and shot their way in, thus enabling the inmates escape.
But prior to this attack, the state was touted as the most secure, despite being bordered by 10 different states including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). But it wasn’t always like that as the state was once plagued with a host of insecurity challenges which were inherited, prominent among these includes terrorism, kidnapping, assassination, political agitation, pipeline vandalism, herders/host community clashes, communal clashes and high rate of cultism.
To tackle this, Governor Yahaya Bello government was said to have found the need to restore peace and confidence to the people by embarking on programs and policies as immediate priority and strategic solutions- a relative peace that was almost shattered by the jailbreak.
Rejigging Security Architecture
Following the incident, the next logical thing would be to rejig the security architecture to prevent a re-occurrence. Acknowledging that, the Senior Special Adviser (SSA) to Kogi State Governor on Security, Commander Jerry Omodara (rtd.) said the state was resolute in its drive to ensure security and safety.
Already, Omodara said 120 of the inmates who fled have been re-arrested, adding that the state has given the issue all necessary attention despite that the correctional facility was the Federal Government’s jurisdiction.
According to Omodara, security apparatus of the state was already being rejigged to prevent a recurrence of such sad incident.
He said: “Security is work in progress. It is not far from the knowledge of security architecture put in place by the government. Kogi used to be one of the worst in terms of security in this country so much so that people were avoiding the state because it was the capital of kidnappers.
“But that changed along the line because concrete steps were taken to contain insecurity. We see the incident of Monday as a set back on our records in terms of security but it will also make us prepare more and rejig our architecture.
“You should know that where was attacked is a federal institution but that notwithstanding, the response to the attack was fantastic. For now, I can tell you that about 120 of the inmates have been gotten. We are moving very fast to make sure we get them all back into the cell because that will rebuild confidence.”#Omodara admitted the incident must have been thoroughly planned, adding that high profile criminals were released during the break.
“If you are saying it was politically motivated, I won’t shy away from that because we have high profile criminals there. However, with our own apparatus in place, it has given us leverage to look at how to prevent it in future. What happened cannot be far away from politics because of the emerging political situations in the country.
“We will not look at what has happened rather, we will be very focused on what we are doing and ensure we do not allow this to distract us but put our eyes on the ball to be sure we keep the state safe.”
Need for Adequate Structure
On this, former Department of State Services (DSS) director, Dennis Amachree, blamed lack of structures and process for the jailbreak, adding that the incident told a lot about the country’s criminal justice system.
He lamented the absence of standard re-inforced perimeter walls, anti-scaling concertina wiring on the walls and alarm system to alert the guards of a breach.
“A system where innovations are only in name and not in structure or process. Kogi Medium Security Correctional Facility was breached because lessons were not learnt from previous jailbreaks in Kogi State and indeed in the country at large.
“The faults can be found in the structures of our prisons. Some of these prisons environment are not designed to prevent a breach. There are no standard re-inforced perimeter walls. No anti-scaling concertina wiring on the walls and definitely no alarm system to alert the guards of a breach.
“Secondly, the prisoners are still locked up like animals in a zoo, rather than being helped to reform from their crimes. Except we correct these anomalies I can tell you another prison break is around the corner,” he said.
Amachree dismissed insinuations that the attack was political, noting that there were over 100 persons awaiting trial in the facility, adding that “some of them are bandits. Their colleagues outside felt they should attack the facility and free their buddies”.
Meanwhile, sources had alleged an intelligence report was intercepted that revealed a plan to make Kogi State insecure through a number of attacks on Koton-Karfe, Mopamuro, Yagba East, Yagba West, Adavi, Ankpa and Idah.
Also schools in Lokoja, Dekina and Kabba were said to have been targeted by the attackers, whose aim, conspiracy theorists believe, was to whittle down the exploits recorded in terms of security.
At the receipt of the Intelligence report, it was gathered that the state immediately commenced combing of the mentioned areas to arrest persons suspected to be connected with the planned attacks.
Touting citizen participation as key in line with an efficient security architecture, the latter which was sorely tested by the jailbreak, Omodara had in an earlier address made available to THISDAY, said the governor recognises the need for sensitisation to guarantee the required support and confidence of the public towards strengthening internal security framework in the state.
Harping that the concrete programmes and policies embarked on by the government have been yielding the much desired results as the security situation in Kogi State today has improved tremendously as compared to what obtained in the past, he said in the last five years, the results speak for themselves, adding that by
2018, after about two years in the office, Kogi went from being a violent crime hub and the kidnap capital of Nigeria to the ‘second most peaceful state in the country’ and ‘the state with the second lowest crime statistics in Nigeria’ according to the rating agencies and law enforcement records.
Security is an important and critical element to the progress of any government or organisation as no valuable development can be achieved without adequate security. Kogi is no different and lessons learnt from this jailbreak all point to the fact that internal security should be continuously harmonised and upgraded.