Security presence around correctional facilities as well as exit and entry routes of three capital cities in Katsina, Kebbi, and Zamfara States has visibly become heavier, ostensibly a measure to prevent terrorist attacks on the prisons, PREMIUM TIMES observed.
This is coming 11 days after PREMIUM TIMES published an exclusive report based on military intelligence warning of terrorist plans to attack prisons in the three North-western states.
In Katsina State, the public relations officer of the Nigeria Correctional Centre, Najib Idris, confirmed that the heavy security presence is to avert a prison attack.
“Immediately after the report (by PREMIUM TIMES) was released, we were ordered to beef up security,” Mr Idris said. “We have now sought and got reinforcement from the Army and immigration officers have also been sent to us.”
He added that the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corp (NSCDC) has also been complementing the efforts of the prison officers.
The two correctional facilities in the city have been provided with enhanced adequate security when our reporter visited the Unguwar Yari / Kofar Soro centre and the newly built one on Jibia road. Though the facility on Jibia road is opposite the Natsinta Army Barrack, this reporter found that security personnel were stationed around the facility.
A PREMIUM TIMES reporter who went round Katsina city reported that there has been an increase in the number of security agents patrolling the city centre.
Patrol teams have also been stationed on all exit and entry routes of the metropolis.
On the Mani exit route, the reporter learnt that policemen had been stationed immediately after the Barhim Housing Estate and a checkpoint mounted. Vehicles are checked before going in, just like the Kaita exit route where a police checkpoint is also stationed immediately after the National Open University.
There has also been a police checkpoint on the Daura exit opposite the Umaru Musa Yar’adu’a International Airport. Four policemen with their rifles were seen when PREMIUM TIMES visited the place Wednesday afternoon.
Existing checkpoints on the Kano exit route as well as the Dustin Ma exit route have been improved now. This reporter found that the policemen now check every vehicle and their number has increased.
The police spokesperson in the state, Gambo Isa, didn’t respond to calls and SMS sent to him.
Same story in Kebbi, Zamfara
Our reporter learnt that in Kebbi State, residents of the Illelar Yari area that houses the Correctional Centre have had to go through security checks before accessing some parts of the area.
A local journalist who resides in the area, Ahmadu Faruk, told PREMIUM TIMES over the phone that “security agents have taken over the area. By 8 p.m, they (security men) don’t allow vehicles around the prison area. And residents are thoroughly checked before going to their residents especially those residing behind the centre.”
In Zamfara State, the Unguwar Gwaza area that hosts the Gusau correctional centre has been “taken over by” security agents to prevent terrorist attacks, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
The centre’s spokesperson, Dalhat Gusau, said correctional facilities in the state have always been secured.
But he noted that security has been beefed up to avert “any occurrence.”
“We were officially briefed (on the planned attacks) and the controller has taken serious measures to protect all our facilities. Soldiers and officers from the immigration, police and civil defence (NSCDC) have all been helpful. We’ve been working closely to avert any attack,” he said.
Mustapha Umar, a resident of Gusau, told PREMIUM TIMES in a phone interview that he had seen an increase in the number of security agents in the state capital.
“Especially last week, the roads leading to Unguwar Gwaza were all blocked but I learnt that the number of security agents has reduced compared to last week. I was going to Tudun Wada from bye pass last Wednesday when I witnessed many security agents’ vehicles stationed around Unguwar Gwaza roundabout,” Mr Umar said.
Another resident, Abdul Balarabe, also said he had seen a convoy of “soldiers, policemen and other security agents around the areas leading to Unguwar Gwaza.”
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