Palpable tension has gripped residents of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja and its neighbouring States over the escape of over 800 inmates from the nation’s foremost correctional center, Kuje prison.
Scores of terrorists suspected to be Boko Haram members had attacked the facility with explosives and other dangerous weapons and freed all their members and other criminal elements.
The incident has continued to generate reactions from stakeholders who expressed shock at the level of security crisis in the country.
While several Nigerians are blaming the incident on the inability of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to tackle the insecurity menace ravaging the nation, others believe it is a plot by some unscrupulous citizens attempting to frustrate Buhari’s administration.
The Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, while reacting to the unfortunate incident, said categorically that none of the Boko Haram suspects detained in the facility was found after the attack.
A source from the Nigerian Prison Service, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, also said among the escaped inmates are some Boko Haram, Islamic State’s West Africa Province, ISWAP terrorists who were previously convicted.
According to her, some of the escaped inmates were terrorists’ leaders who were captured and prosecuted by the Nigerian Army.
DAILY POST reports that the development is coming when the FCT is facing the worst security situation in the history of the territory.
There have been series of kidnapping, murder, ritual killings and other criminal activities in the territory in the past few months.
A civil servant residing in Kuje Area Council, Mr James Adoga told DAILY POST on Wednesday that the area had been enveloped with tension over fear of possible attacks by the escaped terrorists.
He said, “We all lost our sleep on Tuesday night when the bandits attacked the prison. We started hearing gunshots from 10pm and it continued until they executed all their plans.
“Some people are already relocating from this area. We have been facing insecurity for a very long time before this one happened yesterday.
“As it is now, more than 800 criminals, including Boko Haram terrorists are staying around this place, living with us in Abuja here. You can imagine that. We are in trouble.”
A source from the FCT police command told our correspondent that the incident had also raised a big concern in the command.
According to him, top officers in the command had serious meeting on Wednesday to arrive on how the command could strategize in combating the already deteriorating security crisis in the territory.
“As we speak, there is tension everywhere even within the command because officers are always the first target of attacks. Some of us left the North to come here because we thought Abuja would be peaceful, but I think we were wrong.
“We all need to be security conscious especially in this Abuja, but no matter what they do, we are ready for them”, he added.
Similarly, a Christian cleric in Bwari Area Council, Pastor Adakpe Ujah expressed fear that churches in Abuja may be the next target of the terrorists.
He called on the Federal Government and the FCT administration to as a matter of urgency, beef-up security in all worship centers before Sunday, July 10.
“Those who escaped from the prison, where are they? I think they are still within the city. The Federal Government needs to be proactive this time. We all know their agenda, churches may be their next target.
“We don’t need to wait until it happens then we start crying blood. The government should beef-up security in all churches at least before coming Sunday. We are in trouble but God will definitely see us through,” he said.
When contacted for comments from the FCT Police command, the Commissioner of Police Babaji Sunday referred our correspondent to the Public Relations Officer, DSP Josephine Adeh who could not take her calls or respond to text messages forwarded to her.