Reports of terrorists making away with N82million and $36,000 in cash when they raided Kuje Prison on Tuesday night are wide of the mark, FIJ can authoritatively report.
A number of platforms had reported that the terrorists, now believed to be ISWAP after owning the attack, carted away the sum of money, hence brewing inmate unrest with the potential to snowball into a riot.
However, insiders have told FIJ the said event was made up, as the prison is not allowed to hold anywhere close to that amount per day, meaning the prison itself is trying to exaggerate its financial losses for corruption purposes, or warders who have done shady deals with inmates are trying to be smarter than themselves.
“This is a lie!” an insider who asked not to be named for fear of retribution told FIJ on Thursday.
“The system they run in that place is that they don’t keep money more than N500,000. Any money above that will be taken to the bank; Kuje Prison has a bank account with which it receives money for inmates.
“Yes the terrorists broke into the records, where inmates’ money and belongings are kept, but you can never find millions in that place. Never. This is a lie from the pit of hell. That is news deliberately meant to deceive; somebody sold that out for corruption purposes.”
The source further reiterated that Kuje doesn’t house more than N500,000 per day because, like every other Nigerian prison, they limit the access of inmates to funds.
“At Kuje, no inmate can receive a disbursement of more than N5,000 per time, and this disbursement is done thrice a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday,” the source continued.
“It is a standing rule because they don’t want cash flow in the facility. For any inmate to have more than N5,000, it is through trafficking and through the prison officials profiting from ‘money business’.
“In fact, the officer running the prison’s banking operations, SP Peter Ogundele, is the only one permitted to come inside with cash of up to N500,000 from the bank. I can tell you that even the officer-in-charge of the prison cannot come into the facility with N100,000 cash in his pocket. How can the Records Office then have such amount? Any money received from newly admitted inmates today will be moved to the bank first thing in tomorrow morning”.
The ‘money business’ talked about, FIJ understands, is a setup where money meant for an inmate is electronically transferred to the account of a warder, with the warder withdrawing it and handing the cash over to the inmate in exchange for a cut.
Corroborating those claims, a second Kuje Prison source told FIJ that even if inmates kept such huge monies with warders, the warders would have known better than to keep them within the prison.
“Any exchange of money between inmates and warders to the tune of millions of naira is certainly a product of graft. Warders who do such stuff know too well to keep such shady monies within the premises; such monies would have been kept externally and brought in only at the point of need.
“So if up to five Kuje Prison warders are holding N82million and $36,000 cash for inmates nd they’re saying it was stolen by the terrorists, that’s a lie; tell them to fish out the monies from where they kept them, because it can only mean they’re taking advantage of the jailbreak to appropriate the monies to themselves.”
The prison service has not officially responded to claims of the missing funds.
After visiting the prison on Wednesday, President Muhammadu expressed his disappointment with the incident, tweeting: “Saddened by the attack on the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje. I am disappointed with the intelligence system. How can terrorists organize, have weapons, attack a security installation and get away with it? I am expecting a comprehensive report on this shocking incident.”
FIJ earlier reported how the scores of terrorists who raided the prison had so much free time on their hands that they first delivered a 15-minute Quranic lecture to inmates before setting them free.
FIJ also reported how the terrorists made an attempt on the life of Abba Kyari, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) and former head of the Inspector General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT), but failed.
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