ABUJA: The civil advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari to demand that the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola be compelled to sit up and work, or be booted out, to stop further compromises of the integrity of the Prison system in Nigeria.
The HURIWA National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko who said this at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, noted that they 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.
He noted that HURIWA has 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.
He stated also that they have tabled issues before the President and have pleaded with him to immediately investigate the allegations they have raised, with a view to fixing the broken down security architectures in the Prison facilities across the Country.
In the petition sighted by The Sight News, and titled, “Petition Against the Alleged Use of Personnel 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”, HURIWA asked President Buhari to implement 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 being deployed for political assignments.
According to group, “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 deploying them appropriately where they are needed to secure the Correctional Centres that are the cornerstone of Nigeria’s judicial system.
“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”, they said.
HURIWA urged President Buhari to 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.
Furthermore, Onwubiko stressed that 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.
Responding to a question on what HURIWA will do if there is no positive outcome from the Petition, he said, “We are optimistic that the President will act on our petition but if nothing is done, we will continue to monitor the situation and engage in advocacy campaigns, to see, if there are things that are legally allowed for us to take action to ensure that Mr. President secures the nation, we will do it”.