Controversy has surrounded the whereabouts of suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, after bandits attacked Kuje Correctional Centre, Abuja, where he was kept.
The PUNCH had reported that gunmen attacked the Custodial Centre in the Kuje area council of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja Tuesday night.
During the attack which lasted hours, some inmates were said to have escaped.
The Kuje prison is famous for holding high-profile inmates and suspects, including former governors and ministers.
According to officials, the facility houses over 900 inmates.
“We have not seen him today. He didn’t also come for Subhi (early morning) prayer as usual. But I don’t know what is happening,” a source in the prison told our correspondent.
Another official, who preferred anonymity, said that the whereabouts of Kyari remained unknown to him as of 09.30am.
“I am sure he is not missing and he didn’t escape. But I don’t know where exactly he is,” the official said.
When contacted, the spokesperson for the Nigerian Correctional Service, Umar Abubakar, said “Kyari is not missing”.
Abubakar also noted that Kyari has not been moved from the Kuje prison.
“He is still in our custody. Nothing happened to him. He has not been moved,” he told The PUNCH on the telephone.
Abubakar in a statement in the early hours of Wednesday said the armed squad of the service in collaboration with other security agencies responded to the attack.
The statement was titled, “Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje attacked by gunmen.”
It read, “I wish to confirm that at about 2200hrs, some yet-to-be-identified gunmen attacked the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje, in the Federal Capital Territory.
“However, men of the Armed Squad of the Nigerian Correctional Service and other security agencies attached to the Custodial Centre have responded and calm has been restored to the facility and the situation is under control.
“Other details will be made available soon.”
During a visit to the facility, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Mr Shuaibu Belgore, also confirmed that about 600 inmates escaped from the Kuje Correctional Centre following Tuesday evening’s attack.
Belgore explained that over 300 of the inmates have been retrieved.
He suspected that the gunmen attacked the facility to rescue their terrorism co-conspirators.
The official added that one person died and three others were injured during the attack.
A Federal High Court, Abuja, had on March 28, 2022, ordered the transfer of Kyari to Kuje Correction Centre.
Justice Emeka Nwite gave the order after Kyari’s bail application and his co-defendants were rejected by the court.
Justice Nwite, who turned down the bail plea of the four of Kyari’s colleagues in the Special Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector-General of Police, also ordered them to be remanded in Kuje Correctional Centre.
Kyari was, on March 7, arraigned alongside four of his colleagues as first to fifth defendants in the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/57/2022.
The five police officers were arraigned alongside Umeibe and Ezenwanne on charges bordering on alleged conspiracy, obstruction and dealings in cocaine worth 17.55 kilograms.