(Risk Assessment/Risk Management Versus Abandoned Project)
- By Bashorun J.K. Randle
WE are clearly a nation on knife edge and our apprehensions mount each day with frightening reports of (INEC) (Independent National Electoral Commission offices being set ablaze and its officers gunned down in cold blood. It is the same gory tale with regard to army barracks and police stations as well as security agencies. Soldiers, policemen, and security officers (Department of State Security) are being gunned down.
All these are in addition to industrial scale assassinations of political opponents all over the country – all in the name of elections.
If the bloodbath has commenced already, what would follow during elections and afterwards is a foregone conclusion – violence, revenge, and reprisals running parallel with gang warfare.
Here a moral imperative kicks in – those who keep quiet while these atrocities are going on are as guilty as the perpetrators of these heinous crimes.
It would be cowardly to play the victim game. Instead, we must accept responsibility for our individual failure or more appropriately collective failure. Even then, we cannot discount or entirely ignore our abdication of our responsibilities as individuals, going by the dictum of Martin Luther King Jr (1929 to 1968):
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
What did we do when terrorists bombed Kuje prison, Abuja and freed their fellow terrorists?
“Residents of Kuje Area Council in Abuja, who witnessed the Tuesday attack on the prison in the area, have recounted their experiences.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how Boko Haram terrorists stormed the Kuje custodial centre (prison) Tuesday night.
The terrorists, using high explosives and guns, breached the facility, leading to the escape of over 800 of the 994 inmates on Tuesday night.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that an NSCDC officer was killed during the attack while four inmates were also killed.
The spokesperson of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS), Umar Abubakar, on Wednesday, said over 400 of the escaped inmates have been recaptured while 443 are still at large. Another 16 inmates who sustained various degrees of injuries are receiving treatment.
Just like the prison authorities, residents and witnesses in the community hosting the facility who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES, put the number of the attackers at over 100.
How it happened – Residents
Chukwuemeka Micheal, who lives behind the custodial centre, said Tuesday night was one of his scariest moments as an adult.
Before the attack, Mr Micheal and his friend had noticed an unusual presence of unknown groups of men sitting at different positions and smoking along the street where the prison is located.
He said he was worried about the situation but believed everything was in place because of the presence of the facility.
Given the proximity of his house to the prison wall, Mr Michael said the sounds from the explosives were like dynamite. He said he heard the sounds of explosions three to four times during the attack.
“It happened around this area here because we were outside waiting for bikes to take us out because my house is behind the prison here.
Some guys were there smoking around the prison area. They were there smoking and enjoying themselves. Then my friend told me that we should start walking out because he does not understand what is going on there. I told him ‘no, let’s wait for the bike.’ It was not up to minutes after he told me, we started hearing gun shots and so we ran,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.
Contrary to the account of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Shuaibu Belgore, Mr Michael added that the operation lasted for over two hours.
“I slept under my bed, the military man that was on the road entered my house. He removed his uniform and hid the guns. They (the guns used by the assailants) are like machines, they are way faster than the normal ones Nigerians use,” he said.
It was directly entering the compound even our street was covered with bullets and gunshots and all these things. It was so terrible we couldn’t believe it. We thought a situation like this would end quickly! They started from nine o’clock till like 12 midnight. It was really serious. Soldiers couldn’t even do anything, they were running,” he added
Corroborating Mr Michael’s account, another resident who asked not to be named, said the area was unusually filled with strange faces on Tuesday night.
“Around the prison border, some officers suspected fishy activities going on around. So, they called one to question him. I don’t know whether he was questioned or not. So I think eventually the person we saw that came was a spy for them,” he said.
Except for workers and a few journalists, some curious residents who gathered at the entrance of the prison were not allowed to enter.
Some of them told PREMIUM TIMES that the attackers came from the riverside in the area.
“From that riverside, They distributed themselves. When this one shoots a gun some people will also raise their gun. And what I heard also was that people also came here just to shoot guns in the sky to just scare people. So the operation lasted for about two to three hours,” one resident said.
He said before the attack ended, some inmates were seen walking majestically through the bush parts while others without “guide” had to run on their own.
The terrorists were ‘kind’ to assist other inmates with N2,000 as transportation fare to their destinations, one resident said.
“They gave N2,000 each to the prisoners that escaped and there was someone amongst the prisoners who was shouting Allahu Akbar repeatedly
“There was a man they rescued, who couldn’t escape and wanted to return the money. He was the one that told people the amount they gave them,” he narrated.
Living in fear
Some of the residents are yet to recover from the shock of the attack.
Charles Onuchukwu, a resident, said he had recovered from the shock but his family members are still in fear.
Mr. Onuchukwu said his aged mother-in-law, a hypertensive patient who lives with him, was rushed to the hospital in the early hours of Wednesday.
On Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari visited the prison to review the situation. He expressed disappointment that the security officials at the prison could not prevent the attack.
However, the Kuje jail break is just one of many recent jail breaks across the country. That the Kuje incident occurred despite similar jail breaks in places like Kogi and Edo States suggests the government is unable to protect its prisons.
For residents of Kuje, however, they hope no such incident occurs in the facility anymore.
Isa Afegbua, a resident, said the experience is a traumatic one for the younger ones in his home.
“My wife is still recovering but we hope such things don’t happen again,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.
We also have to contend with interruptions (as “BREAKING NEWS” on CNN):
Headline: “LAGOS SCHOOL PRINCIPAL NARRATES CULTURE OF
STUDENTS’ MISBEHAVIOUR AMID SEX SCANDAL”
The Principal of the Federal Government College [FGC], Ijanikin, Lagos, Tofunmi Akamo has confirmed the report that some students of the school were found to have lodged at an hotel near the school and engaged in sexual activities.
5th January 2023.
- The Lagos secondary school principal confirmed students sex romps in hotel
- There had been reports of some male students of the Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos taking their female classmates to hotels.
- The school principal blamed parents for not allowing the school to ensure adequate discipline.
Our sense of guilt is derived from the realization that the character and behaviour of these students are a direct product of the seeds we planted as parents (and grandparents). What we have ended up with is a society that is totally dysfunctional. This is further compounded by the glaring contradiction – we have turned election (and democracy) on its head. Democracy was meant to be our gatepass to peace, stability and prosperity but what confronts us is the exact opposite. Our nation is a combat zone and the killing fields are everywhere. The abnormal has become the new normal.
It is now firmly established and confirmed that we have taken over from India as the poverty capital of the world. Out of our estimated population of about 200, million and many as 133 million are firmly in the grip of grinding poverty. We also hold the perverse distinction of 20 million out of school children – a world record. In addition, rate of unemployment is 33%.
A quick flick through the front pages of today’s (5 January 2023) newspaper headlines provides confirmation that the “Last Mile” is not going to be a walk in the park or a picnic.
- “Nigerian Tribune”
(a) “NIGERIA’S DEBT MAY HIT N77 TRILLION
BY MAY 2023” – Debt Management Office
(b) “1999 CONSTITUTION WON’T GUARANTEE EMERGENCE
OF CREDIBLE LEADERS (from next month’s elections)
` – Aare Afe Babalola
- “Daily Sun”
“NIGERIA’S DEBTS MAY HIT N77 TRILLION BY MAY 29”
- Debt Management Office sets record straight
- “The Guardian”
“DEBT SERVICE GULPS 80.6% OF 2022 REVENUE, FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT SEEKS FRESH N8.8 TRILLION LOANS.”
“WE’VE BEEN BORROWING TO FUND PETROL SUBSIDY
- Finance Minister”
- Says subsidy unsustainable
- To engage National Assembly [NASS] on securitization
of N22.7 trillion Ways & Means debt.
- Awaiting the report of investigation into alleged N89 trillion Stamp Duty diversions
- INEC gets N173 billion for elections.
- “The Punch”
- “NIGERIA’S DEBT TO HIT N77 TRILLION, LOAN
SERVICING GULPS N5.2 TRILLION
- “I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY ASSASSINS KILLED MY
BROTHER, WIFE, SON
- Slain CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria)
(c)”SEX ROMP: PRINCIPAL DENIES COVER-UP, SUSPENDS
- “DSS (Department of State Services) NABS ISWAP (Islamic State’s
West Africa Province) MASTERMINDS OF KOGI BOMB EXPLOSION
DURING BUHARI’S VISIT
- Suspects behind Kuje Prinson attack killed two policemen in
Kogi Police division assault.
- Staged several kidnap operations in Kogi, Ondo
- “FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: INCOMING ADMINISTRATION WILL
INHERIT N77 TRILLION DEBT.
- Country lost N6 trillion to tax incentives in 2021, moves to phase out pioneer incentives.
Bashorun J.K. Randle is a former President of the Institute of the Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and former Chairman of KPMG Nigeria and Africa Region.
He is currently the Chairman, J.K. Randle Professional Services.