From Joseph Inokotong, Abuja
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has ordered the Squadron/Unit Commanders of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) to deploy maximum force in preventing further attacks on the Custodial Centres.
He warned that the Officers would be held responsible for any future attacks on the NCoS facilities despite the current security situation in the country as no excuse would be entertained.
The Minister stated this in Abuja yesterday when he addressed the Squadron/Unit Commanders at NCoS Headquarters.
He said “You have no reason for allowing such attacks. You would be held absolutely responsible going forward for any attacks on our Custodial facilities. I declare, henceforth all our Custodial Centres are red zone. You must defend them at all cost. Anyone who attempts to invade the facilities should be made to regret it”.
According to him, the custodial facilities are a symbol of the authority of the Nigerian State, sacred and inviolable institutions, and the reason they are usually built around military fortresses, to show their importance.
This, he added is to deter would-be attackers from “inside or outside. More importantly, you are armed and positioned to directly guard them and defend their integrity. Your mission is to defend the facilities at all cost. Let me repeat again, defend them at all cost.”
Aregbesola reminded them that they are empowered by the highest authority in the land to use every means necessary to defend the custodial centres against internal and external aggression, stressing that “the weapons you carry and the instrument you have are to be lawfully deployed for maximum effect, in protecting the facilities”.
The Minister warned that “anyone or group of persons that decide(s) to attack them should not live to regret it. You must not fail because failure means you have contributed to the insecurity in the land by allowing criminals to invade society.
“This begins with vigilance. You must be on the watch for any instrument or material that could aid criminals in perpetuating jailbreaks”.
He said, earlier this month, vigilant officers stopped one of their colleagues from smuggling a mobile phone to an inmate in Bauchi, stressing that it will be difficult, if not impossible, for inmates to break from inside without receiving assistance from officers, no matter how little.
“It is my firm belief that you will return to your posts recharged, renewed, reinvigorated and reequipped with a new sense of purpose.
The Minister urged them to be vigilant and on the watch for any instrument or material that could aid criminals in perpetuating jailbreaks
“We are already seeing some of these. Some of the escaped inmates from Edo have been arrested for committing murder and other crimes. One in particular went after those who provided the witness for his conviction,” he said.
Aregbesola pointed out that “you may not be able to change the world, but all that is required of you is to do your part and do it well. That is what it takes to change the world”.