Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, says it is impossible to swap inmates in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Service with free citizens.
The minister made the statement on Friday, April 22, 2022, in Abuja in his opening remarks at the third and fourth quarter 2021 performance review meeting of the ministry and its agencies.
Rumours had been rife about how the Nigerian Correctional Service swaps inmates with free citizens.
“The allegations we hear are worrisome and most are false and almost impossible.
“There is a minimum setback between our facilities and human development areas, but if it’s not being enforced at some correctional services, we will ensure the enforcement,’’ he said.
The minister assured that no such swapping would be tolerated on his watch, stressing that government would further secure already properly-secured facilities of the Nigeria Correctional Services.
Speaking on current delays in the issuance of travel passports, Aregbesola said the integration of the National Identity Number (NIN) with names database was responsible.
He stressed that Nigerians must know that if the names on their passport bio data and NIN do not tally, it would be difficult to prove that such names identified one person.
“We must integrate NIN with passports and that’s why most of the delays are not caused by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
“For as long as your bio data integrates with your NIN which is in the database of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), then you have no issue.
“If the database of NIMC cannot accept your bio data, then the issuance of passport will be difficult,’’ he said.
Aregbesola also blamed periodic server failure at the NIMC for delay in confirmation of NIN and consequently the issuance of passports.
“Tally in arrangement of names is important as these little things conspire against speedy processing of passports.
“Most applicants do not care about these minute details even though we have digitalised the entire application process,” he said.
He said the ministry and the NIS were working to ensure that passports applicants were able to track their applications online.
Agencies of the ministry are the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigerian Correctional Service, the Federal Fire Service and the NIS.
The minister urged the agencies to pay serious attention to public perception about them.
“What you get the public to see and believe is of great importance and if a user of your service is dissatisfied with your service, then act, appropriately,’’ Aregbesola advised.