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How FG ‘foiled new jailbreaks after Kuje prison attack’

By Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Terhemba Daka and Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
27 January 2023   |   5:07 am
Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, yesterday, revealed that there had been fresh attempts to break into some of the country’s correctional centres after last year’s Kuje incident.

Minister of the Interior, Rauf Aregbesola. Photo; TWITTER/RAUFAAREFBESOLA/OGUNDIRANDOLAPO

• Mocks Atiku over promise to revamp Ajaokuta steel company
• ‘NITDA amendment bill not aimed at reducing NCC’s powers’

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, yesterday, revealed that there had been fresh attempts to break into some of the country’s correctional centres after last year’s Kuje incident.

Aregbesola, however, stressed that most of the culprits were “sent to their Maker.” He spoke at the 64th ministerial briefing anchored by the Presidential Communications Team, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The minister, who declined to give details of the centres where the attempts were made, added that henceforth, it would be impossible for escaped prisoners to hide, as biometric details of all inmates in the country have already been captured.

More than 400 prisoners went missing after the attack on the Kuje correctional centre in July, last year. Four inmates, a security guard and several attackers were reportedly killed in the incident.

“It is no longer game as usual. We are equipping our men to, on their own, defend those facilities. And sister agencies are equally upping their capacity to protect and defend our facilities. And we’re improving the design of our facilities to make them almost impregnable,” he explained.

ALSO, the Federal Government mocked the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, for promising to resolve challenges facing Ajaokuta Steel Company.

Atiku was said to have made the promise about two weeks ago during his campaign stop in Kogi State. Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, described Atiku’s campaign promise as deceitful and borne out of desperation for power. He said Ajaokuta was concessioned to Global Steel Industry in 2004 by the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo wherein Atiku was in charge of privatisation.

The minister said: “That concession that turned out to be a mess was terminated by another PDP administration. Following the failed concession, the concessionaire, Global Steel Industry, took Nigeria to court, asking for $7 billion, and that case lingered for 12 years until the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari stepped in and the company finally settled for $496 million.

“Out of the amount, we made a bulk payment of $250 million and agreed to pay the balance in five installments. To date, we have paid a total of $446 million out of the $496 million. We will make the last payment of $50 million next month and Ajaokuta will revert fully to us, ending the shameful and failed concession by the administration which Atiku Abubakar served as Vice President.”

The minister added that government is in talks with investors who are ready to bring their money into Ajaokuta to ensure it works.

MEANWHILE, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, at the briefing, disclosed that ongoing amendment of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Act 2007 is not aimed at whittling down powers of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). He noted that the Act that established both the NCC and NITDA has become obsolete, hence the need for an amendment to cover new advancements in ICT.

There have been controversies over the content of the NITDA amendment Act, with some stakeholders accusing the minister of trying to take away regulatory powers of the NCC in favour of NITDA.

Pantami further disclosed that the Federal Government intercepted 160 attempts by cybercriminals to hack into its system, and that government has commenced the process of acquiring another satellite and approved the provision of unlimited Internet to staff and students in 18 higher institutions across the country. Government also commenced the provision of free unlimited broadband Internet access in 20 markets across the country to support innovation-driven enterprises.