Gentlemen of the fourth estate of the Realm, we can no longer afford to keep watching helplessly as the integrity of the Nigerian Prison is being systematically eroded and breached thereby creating rooms for prisoners to escape the long arm of the law with the attendant consequences to the national security interest of the nation.
HURIWA has therefore carried out an investigative activity to ascertain the cause of the lethargic leadership incapacitation in the Parent Federal ministry with mandate to administer the Nigerian Correctional Centres and the findings are what we have tabled as a petition to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to demand that the federal minister of Interior be compelled to sit up and work or be booted out to stop further compromises of the integrity of the Prison system in the Country.
Here below are the issues we have tabled before the President and have pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately investigate the allegations we have raised with view to fixing down the broken down security architectures in the Prison facilities across the Country.
Dear President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR,
PETITION AGAINST THE ALLEGED USE OF PERSONEL OF THE SECURITY AGENCIES UNDER THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF INTERIOR FOR POLITICAL GAINS IN OSUN STATE BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER; OGBENI RAUF AREGBESOLA RATHER THAN FULLY DEPLOY THEM APPROPRIATELY WHERE THEY ARE NEEDED:
We, the undersigned leading and prominent Civil Right advocacy group; Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) wishes to draw the attention of the Nigerian President; His Excellency; Muhammadu Buhari to the clear and unambiguous symptom of a failed leadership in the Ministry of Interior due to political distraction on the side of the Minister; Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and the need for the Minister to be called to order or asked to quit and face local Osun State politics.
It is worrisome that in the face of the implications of the successful and attempted jailbreaks reported across the country in the last eighteen months, which have been adjudged to be the highest so far in the cycle of any administration since the return to civil rule in 1999, the Interior Minister; Rauf Aregbesola appears more concerned with allegedly misusing the personnel of the security agencies under his Ministry for political gains in Osun State rather than fully deploy them appropriately where they are needed to secure the Correctional Centres that are the cornerstone of Nigeria’s judicial system.
HURIWA has reportedly observed on a weekly basis, particularly on Thursdays, that armed men from the Correctional Services and those of the Nigeria Civil and Security Defense Corps (NSCDC) are stationed at the venues where The Osun Progressives (TOP); a caucus of the Osun State All Progressives Congress suspected to be loyalists of Rauf Aregbesola who are laying claims to the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state hold their meetings.
Again, reports have it that on Saturday, August 14, this group, alongside some suspected political thugs under the protection of the armed men from the Nigeria Civil and Security Defense Corps (NSCDC) allegedly attacked the state secretariat of the All Progressive Congress, wherein some persons were reportedly injured in the process.
Also, not too long ago, precisely on the 16th of October, 2021 while the State APC held it’s State Congress at the Osogbo Stadium where all heads of security agencies in the State and INEC were present, only the NSCDC personnel and its leadership were repprtedly absent for no other reason but political manipulation. Instead, they reportedly went to another part of the State to provide cover for alleged Aregbosola’s political loyalists who also claim to be holding a state congress.
In fact, NSCDC men were seen on national television wielding weapons and standing behind the former State Secretary of the party; Alhaji Rasaq Salinsile, who announced himself as the chairman of the party in the State on a day NSCDC personnel ran riot and shot ceaselessly and sporadically into the air in the Ogo Oluwa axis of the State capital, causing avoidable panic in the State.
More worrisome is that there are indications of clear communications gaps between the Office of the Commandant General and the Minister`s Office for the deployment of tactical and combatant teams of NSCDC to all Correctional Centers in Nigeria, which was allegedly declined by the Minister.
However, there was an alleged express approval from the Minister for the transfer and deployment of hundreds of NSCDC officers to Osun State to protect personal buildings and provide security covers for persons fighting proxy political wars on his behalf. To show the import attached to these over and above the statutory mandates of the NSCDC, State Commandant of the NSCDC; Mr. Emmanuel Ocheja, personally leads most of the operations.
Referencing the Establishment Act of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (2003), empowers para-military agency to function in the “enhancement of security network and formation within the country, so as to develop structures and training strategies that would contribute to the national security with a broader vision to put to work efficiency in service delivery with a fresh zeal; bring credibility into concept of security,” Aregbesola’s action so far has portrayed him as a man not worthy of holding a public office of such national strategic and security importance.
It has therefore become pertinent that Your Excellency implements sanctions in calling the Minister to order and direct him to appropriately deploy personnel of the Security Agencies under his Ministry to perhaps fortify prison security and other critical national assets rather than been deployed for political assignments.
This petition to call the Minister to order is germane owing to the fact that every jailbreak portends the release of possible arsonists, murderers, assassins, armed robbers, kidnappers, rapists, terrorists, and all manner of criminals that make the society a dangerous place to live in.
Beyond this, the successful and attempted jailbreaks across Correctional Centres in the Country have all exposed the gross incompetence and ineffective leadership at the Interior Ministry since Rauf Aregbesola’s assumption of office as Minister due to political distraction on the side of the Minister.
Hence, His Excellency, the President should expedite actions in curtailing the excesses of Rauf Aregbesola in his privileged position as a minister in using the Security Agencies under his Ministry for alleged political gains by exploring the use of sanctions that disallows public office holders to be involved in this phenomenon of using personnel of security agencies for personal interest and for advancing political expansionist tendencies.
This is because deploying sanctions in calling Rauf Aregbesola to order would provide accountability for and be a deterrent to anyone involved in using their position to divert the attention of security agencies to personal interest.
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko