Group Captain Sadeeq Shehu, a retired military officer and security expert, said on Wednesday that intruders can easily breach security at the Abuja Correctional Centre.
Shehu stated that his findings from his visit to the Medium Security Custodial Centre in Kuje, hours after it was attacked by terrorists, revealed the facility’s poor security architecture.
“I took time to go to Kuje prison for the first time today and I was noting the terrain and the access to the prison,” he highlighted during his appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today. “As soon as you come to Kuje – the main prison itself, what strikes you is a neglected derelict building.
“The main gate which you will enter is so crowded with trees and overgrown shrubs that you cannot see 10 metres ahead of you. My estimation is that if somebody with a bad plan wants to move on Kuje prison, nobody will know he is approaching until he is at the facility.”
While most people could have thought the day was over last night, it appeared to be the appropriate time for Boko Haram terrorists who invaded the correctional facility.
Apart from freeing hundreds of inmates said to be awaiting trial, according to authorities, the assailants left with all terrorists numbering 64 held at the centre for their roles in the insurgency in the North East.
Hours after the incident, President Muhammadu Buhari visited the scene where he expressed his disappointment with the intelligence at the facility.
Amid widespread criticism sparked by the incident, Shehu who is an adjunct professor at the European Institute of Security Studies believes the security at the facility is below standard.
“I am happy to hear that the President said that he was disappointed,” he said. “If the President had come the way I came; even the outer walls of the Kuje prison are too low for a prison perimeter wall. The barbed wire is against regulation; there are standards for how a security wall that is housing a prison should be.
“You should be talking about a wall that is 8 – 16 feet (outer) but by my estimation, what I saw was about 7ft maximum. You are supposed to put three layers of barbed wire on top (of the fence) and the idea is to at least delay an attacker.”
The security expert asserted, “An intruder can get into that prison easily. First, the place is clustered and overgrown with grasses which will even give any attacker a cover, especially in the night to move inwards until where the inmates are kept. The requirement is that there should be two fences in a normal prison.
“The outer may be opaque, but the inner wall should be like a fence. Between these two (fences), you are supposed to have a clear area so that when someone breaches the outer wall, there is time to engage him before he gets to the main building; that killing zone does not exist there.”
He also complained that there were lots of vehicles parked by the fence, stressing that they could also provide cover to intruders.
On the way forward, Shehu appealed to the relevant authorities to ensure modern security measures were put in place at the Kuje custodial centre and other correctional facilities across the country.