Rauf Aregbesola, Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, has named all detention centers “Red Zones,” instructing workers to use full force against any intruder.
He issued the order on Friday in Abuja, while speaking to the Nigeria Correctional Services Squadron Commanders (NCoS).
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This action follows a string of recent assaults on Nigerian detention facilities.
He defined the custodial facilities as a sign of Nigeria’s sovereignty, adding that they are sacred and indispensable structures.
As a result, the Minister directed the staff to “protect and defend the facilities with your life.”
Aregbesola responded to the attacks by saying, “It’s no longer a coincidence,
“I declare henceforth all our custodial centres red zones.
“You [arms personnel] have no excuse at all to allow our facilities attacked either within or from outside.
“You are empowered to use any means necessary to defend the custodial centres.
“You must use maximum force to hold your ground and prevent the violation of our custodial facilities and people within.”
The minister maintained that the instruction to use minimal force was no longer tenable in the present situation.
While charging the personnel to be vigilant, he stressed that most of the attacks on custodial centres were carried out with supports from some officers of the NCoS.
“It will be difficult or even impossible for a prison to be attacked without the cooperation of officers within,” he stressed.
He said an investigation was ongoing over the attack on the custodial centre in Owerri where close to 2000 inmates were released by hoodlums.
“We will hold the personnel absolutely responsible for any attack on our custodial facilities going forward,” he added.