By Ibironke Ariyo
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has urged officers and men of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) to be more determined in preventing attacks on the nation’s custodial centres.
Aregbesola said this during the decoration of newly promoted officers and men of the NCoS on Wednesday in Abuja.
Aregbesola, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Shuaib Belgore, said the country was facing security challenges, hence the need for officers to be on their guard.
“We all know that the country is facing insecurity issues, which have put every security organisation on alert in the country.
“Our country is, indeed, threatened from within and this service has also witnessed some of these security challenges.
“In this regard, I want to say the role of NCoS in ensuring security in this country is immense,” said the minister.
He said nobody should attack a correctional service and get away with it, and that the officers must make use of maximum force to deal with anyone who tried to do so.
“Your responsibility is that of keeping those in custody safe. Thus, you will agree with me that if you deny a human being of their freedom, you are responsible for them.
“However, this service is vested with a very huge trust. Trust is also associated with a lot of pains as some of those you are looking after are dangerous criminals.
“Thus, it becomes worrying for all of us, the entire citizens at large when a jailbreak or prison attack occurs,” he said.
He said it was necessary for the officers to step up their game, and that the service would train them and provide better facilities and equipment.
“Your job does not stop at correctional services and custodial centres. Non-custodial services are equally as important as custodial services,” he said.
Aregbesola urged the newly decorated officers to work hard to justify their promotion, adding that the image of the service and their conduct should be their priority.
Earlier in his remark, the Controller General, NCoS, Mr Haliru Nababa, said there was no gainsaying that it was a trying moment for the security architecture of Nigeria.
Nababa said the service had, however, redeployed some heads of directorates in other to inject new ideas for a holistic approach in the management of emerging challenges facing the service and the nation at large.
He said his office would continue to provide logistics and administrative support within the available resources to ensure the implementation of the directive.
“As you have been instructed, all Nigerian Correctional Service facilities must be kept safe and inviolable at all cost.
“I, therefore, expect all officers elevated to command positions to deploy their wealth of experience and knowledge to enforce this order,” he said.
Nababa noted also that plans were at an advanced stage to facilitate early payment of promotion arrears by the appropriate authorities.
He encouraged the personnel that did not benefit from the promotion exercise to remain steadfast as promotion only comes from God, assuring that their time would come.