The Department of State Services (DSS) has confirmed that 21 deaths were recorded as a result of the shootout during an attempted jailbreak at its headquarters in Abuja yesterday.
A statement signed by the services’ Deputy Director of Public Relations, Marilyn Ogar, said two operatives of the DSS sustained serious injuries during the incident.
“Following our earlier releases, it has been established that 18 casualties were recorded, while two service personnel sustained serious injuries.
“Three other detainees who sustained gunshot injuries during the incident have also died,’’ Ogar said.
She said investigation was ongoing to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the attempted jailbreak.
However, contrary to earlier reports that Boko Haram insurgents stormed the headquarters of the Department of State Security Service (DSS) located within the vicinity of Aso Rock Presidential Villa, The Tide sources yesterday said that the detained members of the sect carried out the attack.
Recalling what happened; an insider said “Only one handler led them so you can understand they had the effrontery to bully him.
“Usually, suspects are taken to freshen up. They get the best of treatment, that I can tell you. Their rooms are comfortable; they eat good food, etcetera.
“Now, this morning, during the normal routine of taking them to the rest room, they attacked the suspect handler and took his rifle. It is a 60-round weapon that was loaded.
“Thanks to combat training, he struggled with them and escaped with wounds because they shot at him. His noise attracted us, so we quickly took position and returned fire. We did not leave anything to chance. At the end, operatives fell 21 of them, while 10 were recaptured.
“In fact, we had handled the situation before our colleagues in the military moved in. Their presence was important though, since we were not sure of what next to expect. But everything is calm now,” the source said.
When asked if the suspects were expecting to get help from outside, the source said “Honestly, I don’t know what they were thinking. Mark my words, there can never be a successful attack on Yellow House, we are always prepared.”
The source explained that he decided to give out the information because a section of the media had blown the incident out of proportion.
“You guys (media) should always get the facts or at least, wait for security agencies to issue statements before writing. I read on some publications that the Presidential Villa was attacked. Imagine that! The same Aso Rock I know? he quipped rhetorically.
The spokesperson of the SSS had earlier reacted to yesterday’s attack.
A statement signed by Deputy Director, Public Relations, Marilyn Ogar reads: “At 0715 hours, the service suspect handler went to the detention facility within the headquarters to feed the suspects.
“One of the suspects attempted to disarm him by hitting him at the back of his head with his handcuff. His attempt to escape drew the attention of other guards at the facility, who fired some shots to warn and deter others.
“The gun shots attracted the attention of the military with which we have an understanding of mutual assistance in the event of any threat. The Army immediately deployed a team to reinforce our perimeter guards to forestall any external collaborators. The situation has since been brought under control.”
It would be recalled that the SSS headquarters is located within the vicinity of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, which also houses the Federal Secretariat Complex, Supreme Court and the National Assembly
It was also gathered that the terrorists’ plan was to attack the Presidential Villa, which is a stone throw from the SSS headquarters.
When our correspondent visited the Aso Rock, security has been beefed up to forestall possible attack.
The Presidential Villa was calm when our reporter visited, just as the Sunday church service at the Villa Chapel was going on as scheduled.
Responding to the attack, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, said that President Goodluck Jonathan was safe and secure, in spite of the attack near the Presidential Villa.
Abati said in his Twitter handle that rumours that the president was on the run as a result of the attack was untrue as the Aso Rock seat of power was never a target of the attackers.
However, security had been beefed up at the various entry points to the Abuja City.
From the airport road end, armed Nigerian Air Force personnel were stationed at strategic places, pointing guns at motorists as they drive past.
Also, military helicopters were deployed around the city, as choppers were hovering around Abuja, especially the Presidential Villa.
Security was also beefed up at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, venue of ongoing 7th meeting of African Finance Ministers and around military and other security offices in Abuja yesterday following the attempted jail break.
On the Shehu Shagari Road, where the Force Headquarters is located, the area had been barricaded with armoured personnel carrier, same for the Ministry of Defence, Area 10, Garki, Abuja, at the time of this report.
However, there were normal activities in other areas of the city centre.
Meanwhile, all roads leading to the headquarters of the Department of State Services (DSS) on Aso Drive at Asokoro in Abuja hitherto closed after the attack have been opened to human and vehicular traffic.
This is contained in a statement by the department’s Deputy Director, Public Relations, DSS, Marilyn Ogar, yesterday in Abuja.
The statement was an update given after the attempted jailbreak at the headquarters of the services earlier yesterday.
Ogar said the area was earlier cordoned off to prevent possible external collaborators from colluding with the inmates who attempted to escape.
“Further to my earlier statement, we wish to state that the roads leading to our offices were cordoned off to prevent possible assistance for the perpetrators from external collaborators.
“During this period, the precinct of the office and adjoining neighbourhood were thoroughly searched.
“Meanwhile, normalcy has returned to the area and the roads have been opened for free movement of persons and vehicles,’’ she said.
Ogar restated the commitment of the DSS to the safety of Nigerians and foreigners alike.
90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.
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