The Federal government of Nigeria has said the nationwide #EndSARS protests which held in October, last year led to the recent surge in prison attacks across the country.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, while reacting to the latest attack on the Abolongo Custodial Centre of the Nigeria Correctional Service, Oyo State, on Friday night, said attacks on public facilities have worsened since the #EndSARS protests.
The New Diplomat recalls that Nigeria has witnessed five major prison breaks since October, 2020. The Benin and Oko custodial centres in Edo State; the Owerri Custodial Centre in Imo State; the medium Security Custodial Centre (MSCC) in Kabba, Kogi State; as well as the Abolongo Custodial Centre have all been subjected to attacks with several inmates freed.
Aregbesola, who spoke during an inspection visit to the facility on Sunday morning, said the attacks are coordinated and are aimed at ridiculing the government of Nigeria.
The minister, however vowed that the government will take all necessary legal steps to ensure all the bad elements face the wrath of the law.
In his words: “External attacks on custodial facilities were a rarity hitherto. What was common, and for which our system had been well primed, was an internal breach. But beginning with the spontaneous #EndSARS protests of last year which dovetailed into massive riots, there have been consistent attacks on our facilities in Owerri, Benin, Kabba, and now Oyo.
“This is not just some random happenings. These are premeditated, planned and coordinated attacks meant to make Nigeria unsafe and ridicule the government.
“I’m assuring Nigerians that the Federal Government will pursue not just those who attacked our facility, but those who have escaped lawful custody.
“The attack was unconscionable, I commend officers of the Nigeria Correctional Service and other members of sister security agencies who provided perimeter security for our facility for fighting gallantly and holding the fort before the attackers were able to gain access to the awaiting trial section of the facility, however, those who escaped are already being pursued. Some have been rearrested, many more will still be captured.”