The federal government said another attempt to break into another of the country’s correctional centers after the one in Kuje in July 2022 was crushed by security agencies.
Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola revealed this to House of Representatives correspondents yesterday during the weekly ministerial briefing hosted by the presidential communication team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The minister, however, did not reveal in which of the country’s prisons the attack was carried out.
According to him, no inmate in the country whose biometrics has not been captured, saying that it will be impossible to hide it going forward.
When asked what was responsible for the unprecedented number of prison breaks in the country, he said it is a global trend.
He said: “It’s the season. Don’t say ha! I know you don’t want to hear it. Have we had what we have today in Nigeria before? It’s the season and it’s global.
“Why are we having murders in America? As bad as it is, it’s horrible, but in America people are dying every second. In California, in the last week in the United States, 20 people have died, did you ask why? It has nothing to do with technology, it could even be related to climate change.
“When things are tough, people who can’t handle their own stability turn to that kind of thing. It cannot be said that there is no terrorism in Nigeria, we are managing it. It cannot be said that there is no banditry in Nigeria, we are managing it. It is because of the level of insecurity in Nigeria and we are getting close to it. It’s as simple as that.
“The question you are asking, you know the answer. There is tension. Nigerians, like the rest of the world, were held incommunicado for 90 days straight. Let’s not just look at COVID-19, the remaining 120 days were intermittent. Don’t you think those things will have an impact on society?
“And in any case, the way to evaluate as a government is this: What didn’t you do? To this day, there is not a single inmate in our facilities that is not biomedically captured, and that is the best we can do.
“We are still working on the DNA, which is another way to identify them. We have met with all the agencies, institutions that can use the biometric data that we have to track and arrest them. They are doing everything they can. The most effective agency to capture them remains the police. They are doing wonderfully well.
“The technology that we hoped would be effective in capturing them is not that effective. As I would normally tell people, they can only run, they can’t hide! If they go out of circulation for now but because they cannot change their biometrics, whenever they go out they will be exposed and therefore arrested if they have not died.
On what is being done to ensure that facilities are no longer subject to such attacks, Aregbesola said: “So we are doing the best we can to ensure that it is difficult for anyone to attack our facilities. “You may not know that some tried and we have returned them to their creator. Just take it, it’s not a game as usual anymore. We are equipping our men to defend those installations on their own.
“And those sister agencies are equally increasing their ability to protect and defend our facilities. And we’re improving the design of our facility to make it nearly impregnable.
“So it’s sad, we’re not happy that the facility is there… but it’s a seasonal function and we’re kidding ourselves if we don’t admit it. There is this popular school maxim: ‘Don’t tell lies, don’t claim easy victories. It is not mine. So we’re up to it. So whoever tries to defy our will will not live to tell the story.”
Asked how many are still missing, he said: “Many. There are many. For details, the GC will tell you, but if I say many, it does not mean… the essential thing is what steps we took. None of the inmates at our facility, whether awaiting trial or convicted, are without their biometric capture… If we have your biometrics, you are exposed.
“There is no international airport that you will go to today that will not have pictures of all these people. They are on our website, the documents took them, they are on social media platforms.
So what I’m saying is this, it’s our collective efforts. If we are all committed, in a short time we will recover them, every government is patient, the government is more patient than the vulture because the government does not get tired of despair and the government will only cease to be when the world ceases to exist. exist. Therefore, they will be identified, apprehended and returned to where they should be.
“One of them tried to be too smart. After realizing that he has one more month to stay, he returned alone. He thought that with that we just let him go. No. We have taken him back not to where he escaped but to another place.
“We have taken him to magistrates court, charging him with fleeing legal custody. That is a separate charge. He is not going to be free of what he has done, he is going to spend every day that he escaped from the penitentiary center as a given punishment”, he said.
“He had thought that when he returned he would only stay for a month and be released. This is to tell you that we are not as lax as you suppose. We are taking all steps to make sure that whoever tries to defy our resolution pays directly for it,” Aregbesola said.
On the infrastructure upgrade, the minister said: “There has been a massive upgrade of the infrastructure in the Custody Centers since the start of this administration.
“112 new Custodial Centers have been built in some places; 20 new prison cells have been added where space allows; and old cells have been renovated to improve living conditions in most custody facilities.
“The construction and renovation of the custody center walls and perimeter fencing has also improved security in and around the centers.
“The Buhari Administration has also taken a bold step to raise the standard of Custody Centers in Nigeria by embarking on the construction of a state-of-the-art 3,000 capacity Custody Center in each of the country’s Six Geopolitical Zones. The one for the northwest located in Janguza, Kano State, has already reached 90% completion.”
Aregbesola said the mass exodus of Nigerians out of the country in search of greener pastures is creating high demand for passports.
He said that in 2022, the Immigration Service issued the most passport booklets with a total of 1,899,683 in more than seven years.
Along the same lines, the permanent secretary of the ministry, Dr. Shuaib Belgore, revealed that at least 159 Nigerians renounced their citizenship in 2022 alone. He added that 150 Nigerians renounced their citizenship between 2006 and 2021.