Interior Minister Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo says the federal government led by President Bola Tinubu is prepared to decongest the prisons nationwide as part of reforms in the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS).
Mr Tunji-Ojo, who stated this at the weekend, said decongesting the prisons would help alleviate the suffering of the inmates and allow the government to re-integrate back into society those who served their jail terms.
“I would like to give assurance that under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, we would do everything humanly possible to make reforms to our correctional service centres, such as the decongestion of our prison centres —of course, with beaming life, and hope we would groom inmates and help inmates to ensure proper re-integration into the society,” he said in a statement by his spokesman, Babatunde Alo, on Sunday.
The minister, who underscored the imperative of reforming the service, affirmed his desire to execute the ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’ of Mr Tinubu’s government.
He explained that aside from the NCS, a transformative plan aimed to revamp the immigration services and other crucial sectors within the ministry is already in the pipeline.
Mr Tunji-Ojo noted that his focus as he begins work is to ensure that all the government’s promises translate into meaningful action and positively impact the lives of Nigerians.
“We wish to say that we will do all that we can, all that is within our capacity, to ensure that we do not disappoint Nigerians and Mr President in terms of the implementation of the Renewed Hope Agenda,” the minister added.
Speaking on the challenges relating to immigration services in the country, Mr Tunji-Ojo revealed his determination to unbuckle Nigerians’ difficulties in registering and getting their passports when needed.
He affirmed that Nigerians must be treated respectfully, especially in their own country, when seeking their documents.
“I would like to assure Nigerians of our desire to proceed with reforms in our immigration service such that Nigerians can be treated with respect.
“And we would also get to unbuckle all bottlenecks of passport collection and see other issues associated with immigration services, in general, are under control,” he said.
Commenting on the proposed reforms for the fire services, the minister emphasised the urgency of enhancing response times to emergencies by the firefighters.
He added that he would reflect the administration’s recognition of the critical role played by the fire service in safeguarding citizens and infrastructure.
“We would do everything within our power as a ministry to ensure that there are key reforms in our fire service centres, turning around the response time of our fire service to under fifteen minutes,” said the minister.
Mr Tunji-Ojo, however, charged the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to ensure the adequate protection of the country’s national infrastructure and assets as it begins to work on other areas of reforms in the interior ministry.