Abuja residents were on Sunday gripped by apprehension as continuous shoot-out raged in the early hours of the day in-and-around the headquarters of the Department State Service (DSS) by the Presidential Villa as security tried to prevent suspected jail break.
Confirming the incident in a statement, which was signed by the Deputy Director, Public Relations, DSS, Marilyn Ogar , said that the attempt occurred at about 7.15 a.m.
Ogar said that “this was when the service’s suspect handler went to the detention facility within the headquarters to feed suspects.
“One of the suspects attempted to disarm the handler by hitting him at the back of his head with his handcuff.
“The suspect’s attempt to escape drew the attention of other guards at the facility, who fired some shots to warn and deter others.’’
She explained that the gun shots attracted the attention of the military “with whom 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,’’ Ogar said, adding that further details would be communicated.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) covering the African ministers meeting observed that additional security personnel had been deployed to the hotel.
The additional armed men, seen within the vicinity of the hotel, include soldiers, police and officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The armed men were supported by sniffer dogs as they took positions within and outside the hotel.
Security was also beefed up in and around military and other security offices in Abuja on Sunday 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.
Also, all the roads leading to the DSS headquarters, Aso Drive, had been closed.
However, there were normal activities in other areas of the city centre.