Members of the notorious Boko Haram religious sect that scattered from Maiduguri after their violent clash with the authorities last July are regrouping in Kano State, state Controller of Prisons Alhaji Lawan Abubakar said in Kano yesterday. He also said security reports indicated there were plans by the sect members to attack prisons in Kano State in order to free their detained colleagues who were captured in the wake of the sect’s ill-fated uprising.

In the wake of the uprising, dozens of Boko Haram members were arrested in Wudil town, some 40 kilometers away from Kano. The leader of the sect has been at large since the Kano government destroyed his house and the Boko Haram mosque in the area. Police authorities confirmed the arrest of 53 sect members in Wudil and another five in Bachirawa area in Kano metropolis.

Abubakar, who was explaining to Daily Trust why men of the Prisons Service fired sporadically into the air while arraigning sect members at a court in No Man’s Land last week, said adequate measures had already been taken to beef up security around all prisons where members of the sect are being detained. He said armed policemen and men from the Civil Defence Corps have also been deployed to strengthen security around the prisons.

He said his men fired those shots at No Man’s Land court premises in order to disperse the surging crowd that turned out to witness the arrival of the prison Black Maria truck conveying the sect members to court.

The prisons controller said security reports indicate that sect are now regrouping in Gezawa Local Government area of Kano State with the intent of launching attacks on some prisons where their colleagues are being detained.
Abubakar also said long before the security reports came in, his men were on red alert to forestall any threat to prisons, especially where Boko Haram members are held. That was why, he said, the prison wardens took pre-emptive action at the court premises because sect members could be lurking among the crowd.

However, the Prison Controller’s claim that the Boko Haram members were regrouping in Kano was disputed both the police and the State Security Service (SSS) in the state, which said they were not aware of any such plan. Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Kano State Police Command Alhaji Baba Mohammed said he was not aware of any such reports and that all is calm in Kano State. He said, “There is no cause for alarm as we are always on top of any security situation.”

Kano State Director of State Security Service Alhaji Bello Tukur Bakori said such security reports as indicated by the Prisons boss did not emanate from SSS. He demanded to know where it came from.