By Ismaila Chafe

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the sum of N965.9 million for the purchase of 49 operational vehicles for the Nigerian Correctional Service.

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola stated this when he briefed State House correspondents at the end of the Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to him, the vehicles to be sourced locally will 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.’’

The minister noted that since the advent of the Buhari administration, concerted effort and commitment had been made to ensure that the Correctional Service was provided with operational tools to meet its mandate of keeping the facilities safe.

He added that necessary logistic support meant to move inmates from the facilities to the over 5022 courts scattered all over Nigeria were also being provided by the government.

Commenting on the recent calls for his resignation as a result of the frequent attack on correctional facilities across the country, the minister dismissed the call, saying there was no need for such calls.

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“Our facility in Imo was attacked in April, Kabba 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. 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.

According to Aregbesola, 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. Currently, we are working with all arms of government 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.

NAN

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