By Deola Badru
Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, yesterday, advised Governor ‘Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, to jettison the idea of installing security cameras in Abolongo prison.
Aregbesola’s reaction came on the heels of the visit of Makinde to the prison to assess its level of damage, following the attack of gunmen on the prison, located in Oyo town, that led to the escape of not less than 500 inmates.
Makinde had promised that his government would take immediate steps to protect the facility.
He spoke after inspecting the attacked centre, weekend, just as he promised to install security cameras in the facility and link same with the security situation room in the state.
But reacting on an Ibadan-based private radio station, yesterday, monitored by Vanguard, Aregbesola’s media adviser, Sola Fasure, said: “With due regard to Governor Makinde, I am sure if the governor has such power that something of such nature should be done in a correctional facility.
“It would be taken as an advisory opinion. In the spirit of the moment, everybody is so concerned as some statements would be made but not necessarily because they are the right one to be made.
“There is an ongoing upgrade programmes of all correctional facilities in the country. It is unfortunate it has not got to Abolongo before the incident happened. As you are aware, more per cent of all inmates in the prison are awaiting trial. That really creates problem for accommodation.
“So the Federal Government is building a 3000-capacity facility in the six geo-political zones. Two are almost ready-the ones in Abuja and Kano. Each facility will have its own court. So the problem of taking suspects to court will be sorted.”
“But what we need more than anything else is for state government, because 99 per cent of most offenders are state offenders. They are the ones awaiting trials and occupying most of the spaces.
“The Federal Government had proposed at a time that they should build holding centers that the NCS will help them staff and manage. And then to accelerate the wheel of justice so that justice will be quickly dispensed.
“If the state government wants to help, no problem, at least, every assistance would be appreciated. I am just making clarification. You can’t give what you don’t have. You can’t direct another agency on what to do. That is what I am trying to say.
“The issue of the upgrade of facility is squarely within the jurisdiction of the ministry of interior and the NCS. The state government does not have holding centers of the prison.
“But like I said the other time, if the state governments want to assist, they will make their intention known to the appropriate authorities. And the help will be greatly appreciated.”