From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola, has said he won’t resign despite recurring incidents of jail breaks across the country in the past one year.
He said this while briefing State House Correspondents at the Aregbesola, whose ministry oversees the end of the weekly virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, the call for his resignation in some quarters is uncalled for and unnecessary.
He said: “As to whether it calls for my resignation, I still don’t see any need for that because it’s not for lack of preparedness that the attacks were successful. No.”
Aregbesola, however, assured that government will step up security around the Correctional Centres in view of the jail breaks in Owerri, Oyo, Kabba and Jos in the last few months.
He explained that: “Imo was in April this year. Kabba was in September. Abologo was in October and Jos was in November. Those captured the attacks.
“As painful as those attacks were, very painful, nobody will really want the end of justice to be so vulnerable.
“The custodial facilities are the final end of justice administration.”
“So, morally, the state owes itself the responsibility of safe custody that must not be violated
“On that account alone, we must appreciate the enormity of any successful attack on custodial facilities, and I so do.
“But I want us to put this thing in the context of our security situation.
“When your our best does not suffice, it’s no longer a question of your inability to make preparation or failure for preparation or preparedness.
“It’s just that at that instance, you just couldn’t hold the defence and several factors are responsible.
“What I can assure Nigerians is this. Yes, as contextual as these attacks and the successes such criminals are having, we are upping our game and we will not allow, we will prevent any such opportunistic attack and even make it impossible. And that is what the state must do.
“We are working with all arms of government particularly the security to make our custodial facilities impregnable.
“We will not rest until that is achieved That’s the assurance I shan’t to give Nigerians.
“As to whether it calls for my resignation, I still don’t see any need for that because it’s not for lack of preparedness that the attacks were successful. No.”
He affirmed that the death of prison officials during the attacks is a testimony to the efforts put into prevent them.
Meanwhile, FEC has approved the sum of N965.9 million for the purchase of 49 operational vehicles by the Nigerian Correctional Service.
Aregbesola said the vehicles to be sourced locally would complement the ones already in use by the Correctional Service.
He said: “The Nigerian Correctional Service through the Ministry of Interior presented a memo to council and obtained approval to spend the sum of N965, 902, 524.58 to procure 49 operational and Green Maria vehicles.
“These 49 vehicles will complement the 513 operational and Green Maria vehicles already purchased between 2016 and 2020. This does not in any way mean that we have met the vehicle needs of the Nigerian Correctional Service but noting that since the advent of this administration, concerted effort and commitment are being made to ensure that the Correctional Service is provisioned with operational tools to meet its mandate of keeping the facilities safe as well as having the logistics to move inmates from the facilities to the over 5022 courts scattered all over Nigeria.”
Commenting on the recent calls for his resignation as a result of the frequent attack on correctional facilities across the country, the Interior Minister said there was no need for such calls.
“Our facility in Imo was attacked in April, Kaba was in September, Abulungu was in October and Jos was in November; just to capture the attacks. As painful as those attacks were, nobody will really want the end of justice to be so vulnerable. The custodial facilities are the final end of criminal justice system because such facilities are the ultimate end of the administration of justice.
“So, morally, the State owes itself the responsibility of safe custody that must not be violated so on that account alone, we must appreciate the enormity of any successful attack on our custodial facility and I so do. But I want us to put these things in the context of our security situation.
“In Jos, our men died, meaning that the best we could put there was there and when your best could not suffice, it means that it is no longer a question of inability to make preparation or failure for preparedness it is just that at that instance we could not just hold the defence as expected,” he said.
Aregbesola however said that the authorities concerned are upping their game, to ensure that such attacks do not happen again.
“We are upping our game and we will prevent any such opportunistic attack and even make it impossible, we are working with all arms of government particularly security to make our custodial facilities impregnable and we will not rest until that is achieved; that is the assurance I want to give Nigerians. As to whether it calls for my resignation, I still don’t see any need for that because it is not for lack of preparedness that the attacks were successful,” he stated.
The Council also approved the sum N1.8 billion for the deployment of regulatory systems in the Nigerian Telecommunications industry.
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami said: “The first memo that was approved by the Federal Executive Council is for the deployment of regulatory systems in the telecommunications industry, to be implemented by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
“The system has two components; number one is the deployment of a regulatory system to monitor, detect and block SIM box traffic. It is going to be implemented at the cost of N804, 122, 897.50 by NCC. This deployment is to fight what is called voice traffic termination fraud.
“The system will support our country in two major ways of addressing challenges of insecurity because sometimes you will receive a call with a local number that is set up as an international number; sometimes, a call can come in but the number will not show; sometimes you will receive a call with a cloned number so you need to investigate further to know who actually made the call. So using these systems, the NCC will be able to immediate address such criminal tendencies on behalf of the Nigerian government.
“The second one in the same memo is the deployment of a regulatory system to monitor, detect, block, and call masking traffic at the coat of N1, 049, 790, 713. 58. They are all forms of fraud committed by criminals. This will enhance revenue generation by our government because the use of any international number will attract higher tax but if it appears as a local number, government would be short-changed.”
Pantami said the President has already approved the deployment of the systems, to enhance the security of all citizens, especially mobile phone users.
He further disclosed that the council approved the distribution of 6000 e-pad mobile devices by the Nigerian Communications Commission tertiary institutions across the country.
“In this phase of President Buhari’s intervention an approval has been granted to the NCC at today’s cabinet meeting to distribute 6000 e-pad mobile devices to higher institutions all over the country. In the northern part of the country, 2400 of such devices would be distributed; the same number for the Southern part and a special allocation for Abuja and Lagos, where both of them are going to share the remaining 120,” he explained.
On the recent drop in the number of internet users in the country, he said it was because of government’s insistence on the use of National Identification Number (NIN) to register new subscribers, adding that the over 12 million that have dropped are mostly criminals that cannot come out to regularize their numbers.
Also speaking, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said the council approved the sum of N145 million for the procurement of an office accommodation for the Federal Character Commission in Bayelsa State at the sum of N145 million.
He also announced the approval of N136.2 million for the procurement of operational vehicles for the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA).