One hundred and fourteen out of 240 inmates who escaped from the Kabba Medium Security Custodial Centre in Kogi State have been recaptured.
“Following the attack on the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kabba in Kogi State on 12th September, 2021 and the swift intervention of the Controller General of Corrections, Haliru Nababa mni, a total of 114 escapees have been recaptured,” Spokesman of the Correctional Service, Francis Enobore, said in a statement made available to Channels Television on Tuesday.
“The CG who personally led a team to the Custodial Centre for on-the-spot assessment, directed an immediate Search Party Response Team to go after the escapees even as Security has been beefed up through the deployment of additional Armed Squad personnel to fortify the facility,” he added.
Heavily armed gunmen stormed the facility late on Sunday, freeing scores of inmates.
It was unclear who the gunmen were but criminal gangs have terrorised central and northwest Nigeria for years.
Large prison outbreaks are also not uncommon in the country.
On April 5, gunmen raided the Owerri police headquarters, in Imo State, freeing more than 1,800 inmates.
In addition to fighting criminal gangs who also kidnap people for ransom and rustle cattle, security forces in the country are facing a violent jihadist insurgency in the northeast and separatist agitation in the southeast.
Two security operatives were killed when gunmen invaded the Kabba Medium Security Custodial Centre in Kogi State, authorities have said.
Similarly, two officers of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS), have not been accounted for, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, Sola Fasure, disclosed in a statement on Monday.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who affirmed that he had been briefed by the Controller General of the NCoS, Haliru Nababa, described the incident as unfortunate.
Giving more details regarding the event, Aregbesola explained that security officers – comprising 15 soldiers, 10 police officers, and 10 armed guards of the NCoS – on duty “fought gallantly” to repel the attack.
“Regrettably, two officers of the correctional service are yet to be accounted for while one soldier and a policeman lost their lives during the attack,” he said.
The Kabba Custodial facility had 294 inmates as of the time of the attack, many of whom escaped after the gunmen used explosives to destroy three sides of the perimeter fence.
However, 28 inmates refused to escape and some of those that fled have voluntarily returned to the facility as of Monday morning.
According to the minister, the controller-general of NCoS is currently monitoring the situation and a ‘crisis response centre’ has been activated.
He added that a special task force has been mobilised to recapture the fleeing inmates while an inter-agency security task force was on the trail of the gunmen who attacked the facility.
Aregbesola urged gave an assurance that the situation was under control., saying security forces would find the attackers and bring them to justice.
“We shall leave no stone unturned to bring them back to custody,” he stated. “We are also putting INTERPOL on notice with their details, in case any of them attempts fleeing outside our shores.”
He urged the people, especially the communities around the custodial facility, to be vigilant and report any strange and suspicious persons or activities to the nearest law enforcement agency.
To the fleeing inmates, the minister warned that “escaping from lawful custody is a serious criminal offence. Law enforcement agencies and citizens are lawfully empowered to use all necessary means to arrest and bring you to justice.
“You should, therefore, know what you are up against. You will, however, be eligible for mitigation if you wilfully surrender yourselves at the nearest law enforcement office.”
Aregbesola stressed that the NCoS would not be cowed by elements seeking to compromise the security of the nation and promised to provide more updates at the end of the preliminary assessment.
At least 240 inmates have escaped the Medium Security Custodial Centre (MSCC) in Kabba, Kogi State, following an attack by yet to be identified gunmen.
The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) spokesman, Mr Francis Enobore confirmed the incident in a communique on Monday, stating that the attack took place at about midnight on Sunday.
According to him, the attackers in their numbers arrived at the custodial centre heavily armed and immediately engaged the guards in a fierce gun battle.
Mr Enobore further disclosed that the Comptroller–General, Haliru Nababa has ordered a recapture procedure to be activated immediately and detailed investigation carried out even as he leads a team to assess the situation.
The Comptroller-General also appealed to the general public to furnish security operatives with useful intelligence that will assist in recapturing the escapees.
Kabba MSCC was established in 2008 with a capacity of 200.
As of the time of the invasion, 294 inmates were in custody out of which 224 were pre-trial detainees and 70 convicted inmates.
The latest jailbreak comes a few months after gunmen attacked the Nigerian Correctional Service and the police headquarters in Imo State, freeing 1,844 inmates, after which the hoodlums set the facilities ablaze.
The gunmen also razed the Imo State Police Command headquarters and burnt almost all the vehicles parked at the command’s headquarters. No fewer than 50 cars were set ablaze in the process.
A similar attack was carried out at the correctional centre in Ubiaja, Edo State; however, the jailbreak was foiled by officers at the facility.
The inmates, after breaking out from their cells, engaged the correctional officers in a fight, leaving some of the security personnel injured.
It took a combined effort by officers from the Nigerian Army, 4th brigade, and the Edo Command of the Nigeria Police Force, to eventually overpower the inmates and return them to their cells.
His reactions come a week after a Lagos State High Court granted an ex-parte application for the EFCC, ordering the freezing of an account allegedly housing around N20 billion, said to be Kogi State’s salary bailout account.
However, the Kogi governor said that the bailout received for the state has been put to judicious use.
According to him, Kogi was among the first to publish its account activities, including details and documents generated from the activities.
“Today, Kogi State is among the first that has published all of our accounts online and all of these spendings have been put out there for the whole world to see – from bank accounts to statements of account, to payroll – all of the documents are out there.
“That is transparency. My Information Commissioner and all those that are concerned with that lies peddled by the EFCC, I think they have responded appropriately. And I will urge each and every Nigerian to please go to the Kogi State website and all the facts are there. The banks have denied that we don’t have such an account.
“Besides that, the bailout fund that we obtained, we appropriated in line with the agreement and understanding between Kogi State Government and the workers. All of these were done, we finished all of these in the year 2019,” the governor added.
He vowed never to keep for himself a kobo from Kogi’s coffers, neither will he allow any of his officials to do so.
While challenging Nigerians to demand details regarding how other governors used the fund in question, Bello warned the EFCC against being misled.
The Kogi leader said the “EFCC should not be seen to be going on a voyage of no discovery if the reputation of the commission and integrity of the present administration is to remain intact”.
Governor Bello demanded that the EFCC unravel the mystery surrounding the allegation, urging them to bring the orchestrators to book.
He compelled the agency’s boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa, not to allow anyone to use him for political vendetta, adding that as a young man, he should continue with his efforts to restore the nation’s integrity.
Motorists travelling to and from the South-West through the Kabba-Omuo Ekiti Highway in Kogi State have been advised to use alternative routes.
The Federal Road Safety Corps which issued the advisory on Saturday said a section of the road at Ikoyi under the Iyara Local Government Area of the state had failed, leading to a poor flow of traffic.
FRSC Public Education Officer, Assistant Corps Marshal Bisi Kazeem, asked road users to use Kabba/Asaya/Ogidi/Ikare as an alternative route to or from South-West.
“Members of the motoring public and general commuters travelling from or to Southwest, through Kabba- Omuo Ekiti Federal Highway are hereby notified of a failed section of the road at Ikoyi under Iyara local government area of Kogi State,” the statement partly read.
“This development has led to lack of free flow of traffic at the said portion of the road.
“In view of the foregoing, motorists, travellers, and the general public are hereby advised to use Kabba/Asaya/Ogidi/Ikare as an alternative route to or from South-West. The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing is already activating appropriate action to ameliorate the situation.
“The Federal Road Safety Corps solicits maximum cooperation of the motoring public on this development. The Corps will also continue to update the public periodically on further developments.
“Meanwhile, operatives of FRSC are on the ground controlling traffic.”
The Kogi State government has threatened to take legal action against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Commissioner of Information and Communication in the state, Kingsley Fanwo, made the threat on Thursday while briefing reporters at the Kogi Liaison Office in Abuja.
He accused the EFCC of a deliberate attempt to malign the integrity of the state governor, Yahaya Bello, over an alleged N20 billion salary bailout funds said to be in fixed deposit at a commercial bank.
The commissioner described as false and malicious the claims by the anti-graft agency that the governor did not disburse the said bailout funds released by the Federal Government in 2019 for payment of salary arrears owed civil servants in the state.
Rather, he informed reporters at the briefing that the state government disbursed the said funds since October 2019.
Fanwo’s briefing comes two days after the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court issued an order freezing the Kogi State Salary Bailout Account domiciled in Sterling Bank over a N20 billion loan obtained from the bank.
The presiding judge, Justice Tijjani Ringim, held that the order would subsist pending the conclusion of an investigation or possible prosecution by the EFCC.
In its argument, the anti-graft agency had explained that the loan was meant to augment the payment of salary and running cost of the state.
It alleged that the state government, however, kept the money in an interest-yielding account with Sterling Bank.
The EFCC also claimed that as of April 1, 2021, the balance standing to the credit of the said fixed deposit account was N19,333,333,333.36.
It added that it was still in the process of tracing what the sum of N666,666,666.64 – a shortfall of the said sum – was used for.
All is now set for the establishment of National Agricultural Land Development Authority’s (NALDA) Integrated Farm Estate in Kogi State, North Central Nigeria.
It is aimed at improving the livestock sub-sector, reducing farmers’/herders’ clashes in the country and creating job opportunities for about three thousand youths (3000) in the host community.
The Farm Estate would be located on seven (700) hundred hectares of land in Okwuha Obayin Village – in the Ajaokuta Local Government Area of the state – donated to NALDA by the state.
The farm would focus mainly on livestock (cattle, goat, sheep and poultry) and pasture production; it would also have a cropping area with an irrigation farming system to enable all year round food production, particularly maize, as the farm has natural water sources in its path.
And like previous NALDA farm estates, the facility would have social amenities such as a school, clinic (including veterinary), access roads, residential areas, boreholes, a meat processing area and a meat market.
The Farm Estate would also create about three thousand direct and indirect jobs for over three thousand youth and women of the host community.
With Kogi state bordering about ten states in the South-South, South-East, South-Western and the northern part of the country, the NALDA Integrated Farm Estate would serve as a bridge and safe haven for pastoralists relocating from these zones thereby reducing farmers’/herders’ clashes.
In an interactive meeting with the Chief of Staff to the State Governor, the Local government Chairman, village head and about twelve (12) Land owners who are willingly donating the land during a visit to the land, the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of NALDA Prince Paul Ikonne reassured the host community that the land would be put to use for their benefit and for the benefit of their community.
“These families that are donating the lands, the Federal Government is developing the land for you, what we are bringing belongs to you and what it means is that all the youth and women within your village would be engaged in this place,” he added.
“It is very simple, it is called Integrated Farm estate, where you will have both school, clinic, crop section, processing section, animal husbandry sections and then we would also have a mini market, residential area and this place would be purely known for meat processing, cow and goat rearing.”
Prince Ikonne noted that the farm is mapped out in such a way that there would be no friction between farmers and herders as the pasture area on the farm would cater for the feed needs of the animals on the farm and also be exported to other parts of the country.
“There would be no issues with herdsmen and farmers because the farm would be well secured, we would have area for pasture production and not just planting it for grass but we would be able to palate it and then take to other parts of the country because of the size of the land you are donating. So, your community is going to host other communities and it is a big blessing.”
Ikonne while assuring the community of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to easing poverty in the country, said the President intends to make millionaires out of Nigerian youths in the rural areas through agriculture and Okwuha Obayin village is blessed to be part of the programme.
He added that the land clearing would commence immediately and the first section of the farm estate would be commissioned in December 2021.
Visit To Kogi Governor
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary and his team paid a courtesy call to the Kogi state Governor, Mr. Yahaya Bello before proceeding to inspect the land.
Governor Yahaya Bello while receiving the NALDA team said his government has been able to stabilize and sustain peace and security in the state, noting that herders fleeing different parts of the country migrate to the state and leave peacefully with the locals.
“Here, we have made available 700 hectares of land in just one local government to take care of the first phase of this programme here.”
“We as a state have been able to stabilize security, peace and tranquility that is much needed in Nigeria today and we have been able to sustain it, a situation where almost all the herders that are having issues at one point or the other in the southern part of the country would migrate to Kogi state and mingling, leaving and cohabiting with our farmers without conflicts means it takes a lot from us as a state.”
He said the project would further enhance the relationship between the locals and migrants into the state since it would create an enabling environment for everyone to cohabit peacefully.
According to the governor, Kogi state serves as a shock absorber for the country as it is always ready to receive people from every part of Nigeria in crisis situations and that Integrated Farm Estates in all three Senatorial zones would help cushion the effects of the shock.
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari and NALDA Governor Yahaya Bello said Kogi would be a model that would be copied by other states in the country, adding that the host community is ready to welcome and receive NALDA.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s had directed NALDA to establish farm estates in all one hundred and nine (109) senatorial zones in the country to empower and develop rural Nigeria through agriculture.
NALDA has since begun establishing farm estates in different parts of the country with one already commissioned in Katsina state.
A medical practitioner, Solomon Nidiamaka, who was kidnapped on Monday in Kogi has regained freedom.
The victim who works at the General Hospital, Ugwolawo in Ofu Local Government Area of the state, was whisked away by gunmen from the premises of the hospital.
This was confirmed in a statement jointly issued by Chairman and Secretary of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in the state, Omakoji Oyiguh and Famotele Tolorunju on Wednesday, noting that he was released on Tuesday.
It is, however, unclear if any ransom was paid to secure the release of the kidnapped doctor.
“The State Officer Council (SOC) of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Kogi, wishes to update all concerned that our member, Dr Solomon Nidiamaka, who was kidnapped on July 19, regained his freedom from the cruel hands of kidnappers yesterday,” the statement partly read.
“He is being currently managed by his medical colleagues. NMA appreciates the government of Kogi, security agencies, Chairman of Ofu Local Government Council, vigilantes and Hunters’ Association who all responded to the distress call and all those who called to show solidarity.”
The association also asked the Federal Government to create more jobs for the teeming unemployed youths roaming the streets to stem incident of kidnapping in the society.
Gunmen have abducted a first-class traditional ruler in Kogi Stata (the Adogu of Eganyi) in Ajaokuta local government area of Kogi State Alhaji Mohammed Adembe on Tuesday evening along Okene-Adogo road.
The Police Public Relation Officer, Kogi State Police Command, Mr William Ayah, confirmed this on Wednesday evening.
The kidnapping of the royal father is the latest of several in recent times.
It comes three days after the kidnap of AbdulAzeez Obajimoh, the Managing Director of AZECO Pharmaceutical company at Ozuwaya in Okene, Kogi State.
The abduction of Obajimoh resulted in gunshots that killed one Habeeb Anda and injured two others before the kidnappers escaped.
A source and an indigene of Eganyi told Channels Television via the phone that the royal father who was alone in his car left Okene town around 4:00 pm on his way to the Eganyi community, but was abducted between Ebiya and Eganyi by hoodlums suspected to be kidnappers.
According to him, the kidnappers around 1:00 pm on Wednesday called the family of the monarch and demanded a ransom of ₦30 million to enable him to regain his freedom.
Ayah said the police command has deployed a special squad to trail the abductors.
He called on the general public to assist the police with useful information to enable security agents to rescue the royal father.
The Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in Kogi State, Wakili Damina, was arrested and not kidnapped.
Adamu Abubakar, who is the secretary of the association, confirmed this to Channels Television on Sunday in Lokoja, the state capital.
Barely one week after the whereabouts of the group’s chairman became unknown, Abubakar disclosed that Damina returned on Friday last week.
He explained that said it was not a kidnap as earlier speculated, noting that Damina was picked up from his house by some men in military uniform without explanation to members of the association or the state government as to why he was arrested.
According to the secretary, the national body of the association has taken up the matter for a thorough investigation to ascertain why the branch chairman was whisked away in such a manner.
He stated that the action of the security operatives was in violation of Damina’s fundamental human right, adding that the manner he was taken away made members think it was an abduction.
Abubakar, however, expressed the gratitude of the association to the state government and the police, among others for their support concern during the period.
He had informed reporters in Lokoja on Tuesday last week that the group’s chairman was taken away from his house in a white bus by eight men dressed in military camouflage.
The Commissioner of Police in Kogi, Ede Ayuba, also confirmed the release of the MACBAN state chairman to Channels Television.
Like Abubakar, Ayuba stated that Damina was arrested and not abducted as it was initially speculated.
The police commissioner said the group’s chairman told him during a telephone chat that some persons who wanted to set him up falsely reported him to some security operatives who came to his house and whisked him away.
He added that Damina was already receiving treatment and promised to visit him soon to explain what happened to him in detail.
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has appointed a speech-impaired young man, Peter Aliyu, as his Special Assistant on Sanitation.
Aliyu, a former cleaner under the Geemoney Cleaning Scheme in Government House in Lokoja, continued his cleaning work without pay even when the company was said to have laid off all its staff.
He was among the 47 new appointees of the government whose appointments were announced on Wednesday last week in a statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Folashade Ayoade.
According to the government, Aliyu’s appointment was borne out of the governor’s observation of his consistency, diligence, and dedication to work on daily basis at the Government House in the state capital.
Governor Bello, on the other hand, was said to have considered the appointee’s impairment to serve in his government as a means to enlist him and prove that there was ability in disability.
Recently, the governor gave special considerations to people with disabilities by engaging them actively in his government and signed bills that would enhance their welfare in the state.