A former state director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Sir Mike Ejiofor, has said the Nigeria Correctional Services (NSC) had sufficient intelligence on plans by criminal elements to attack critical infrastructure and other public places.
Terrorists with high explosives and other arms, Tuesday, attacked the Kuje Custodial Centre leading to the escape of over 800 inmates.
Prior to the attack the DSS had issued several warnings on possible attack by criminal elements, the Service in a press statement on April 26, 2022, specifically raised the alarm over plan to return the country to the pre-2015 era reminiscent of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks on soft and hard targets in parts of the country.
The statement signed by the DSS Public Relations Officer, Dr Peter Afunanya, also said it had uncovered a plot by suspected criminal gangs to forge an alliance with the objective to launch attacks on critical infrastructure and other public places.
Speaking to newsmen on Friday in Abuja, Ejiofor, who is the Chairman/CEO Safety Security Consultant LTD, said: “The attack is quite disheartening and embarrassing to the entire country.”
According to the former DSS boss, “There was several intelligence. Our problem in Nigeria is not the dearth of intelligence, we have abundance intelligence and Nigerians agree that there is sufficient intelligence but the problem and question people are asking is: how were we not able to prevent this?
“I can tell you, much as I sympathise with the action agencies, they don’t have the capacity to deal with the situation and it’s quite unfortunate. It is not only in security sub-sector but people are worried because security is the primary purpose of government as enshrined in our constitution.”
Asked whose responsibility it was to give order for action to be taken on intelligence he said, “Well, I don’t want to go deep but in intelligence circle we have four stages, we have the direction, collection, processing and dissemination.
“But at our level of inter agency relationship if the DSS offers intelligence to a particular agency, let’s take for example the correctional service, the DSS goes ahead to back it up with implementation strategies.
“When you recommend such implementation strategies like strengthening the walls, providing cameras in the facility, educating the staff on what to do but the facility does not have the finance to implement all these things who do you blame?
“That is why I said they don’t have the capacity to implement these strategies and it is that obvious. The funds are not sufficient and will never be sufficient.”
Speaking further Ejiofor warned of likelihood of more attacks stating: “I actually said it likely to happen because from records available, intelligence available, we are approaching elections and these terrorist don’t believe in democracy so they will want to do anything to thwart the process.
“I am not sounding pessimistic or alarming but I believe that our security agencies should step up their game to check the likely upsurge.”
Continuing he said, “The terrorists are testing waters. The fact remains that these people are very daring and they want to bring government to disrepute and make sure that people loss confidence in government.
“So, if they could go ahead and attack the president’s convoy, even if they knew he wasn’t there, they tried it as a sign to say: we are capable of doing this.”
On the way forward, he called for a probe panel to determine exactly what happened, adding: “We should prioritise our security. We should re-strategise. People are calling for change of leadership; I don’t see that as a solution because you are not going to bring foreigners or outsiders to man these agencies.
“If we continue to operate in the same environment, the same circumstance we will continue to have problem. So, the government should take security very seriously.”
According to him, “What we should be doing now is to prevent a future reoccurrence… We can mobilise our people, volunteer information to the security agencies, let the people be security conscious of their environment. As long as this people are out there you don’t know when they will strike again.
“So if you see people with strange faces you should be able to report and people should in their own small groups, perhaps estates, organise themselves to look at their security.”