The deadly attack on Kuje prison by ISWAP is not unconnected to the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari’s to pardon his political allies who were tried, convicted and sentenced by federal courts for malfeasance and embezzling public funds.
ISWAP Terrorists, who were armed to the teeth, in their hundreds attacked the prison on Tuesday and released their members who were being held in the facility leaving the trails of destruction and deaths in their wake.
The move by Buhari to release his cronies and associates buoyed the terrorists to launch an attack at the penitentiary to forcefully remove their comrade incarcerated there, Bellnews Online report.
Buhari’s action, which was constitutional, was widely castigated by the public seeing that he’s always quick to tout his anti-corruption stance as an integral part of his government.
The decision, which weakened public accountability and the campaign against endemic graft, came in April and saw about 150 convicted felons released from jails across the country.
Former governors Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye, members of the president’s ruling APC, were amongst those asked to go home before serving any meaningful period of their sentences for stealing billions from public coffers. Other business executives with ties to the president and his party were also freed as part of the executive pardons which were later enmeshed in racket allegations.
While Buhari was releasing convicted corrupt politicians, violent non-state actors were also taking note of the president’s action and capitalized on it to coordinate its attack on the correctional centre in serving the nation’s capital Abuja on Tuesday night, officials said.
“Some of them shouted at our officers that Buhari pardoned governors and big people convicted by the Federal High Court so their members should not be in prison because the government is not Allah that has the power to punish people.” Bellnews Online quoted a prison official familiar with the development as saying.
Another officer, who admitted receiving reports that the ISWAP insurgents mentioned the presidential pardons, said the prison would be focusing more on the lapses responsible for the successful breach.
“They said so many things about the government and shouted the name of Allah many times,” the official said by telephone under anonymity to comment on an unfolding situation. “But we are focusing on making sure that the attack does not occur again.”
“Kuje is a medium security jail but we are holding ourselves responsible for allowing anyone to break in,” the official said. “No one should be able to invade the prison inside the capital like what we saw two days ago, so it is not about the motive but the success of the attackers.”