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INTRODUCTION It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the 2012 Ministerial Platform of the Ministry of Interior. In accordance with democratic tenets, we consider this a wonderful opportunity to use this forum to inform Nigerians on how we have been running the affairs of the Ministry of Interior so far. When I assumed duty as Minister in July 2011, I took out time to go round some Agencies and Formations under my Ministry. In the course of my familiarization tour, which is still ongoing, I observed that the Ministry and its Services were in dire need of policy review, capacity building, infrastructural development, improved operational efficiency and sound planning. Indeed there was particularly the need for the spirit of believing amongst officers and other staff of the Ministry and its Agencies in the face of daunting challenges. They all needed to believe that working in synergy we will be able to deliver on our mandate. I saw despair. My first task therefore, was to restore hope; give signal that we can get it right; that we can achieve.


The importance of a motivated workforce to the achievement of any organization’s goals is indisputable. Therefore, let me quickly state here that I immediately directed the release of the results of the verification exercise of officers and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) which saw the proper placement of over 40,000 in the last quarter of 2011. In addition, I saw to it that overdue promotion interviews for senior officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) were conducted. Furthermore, I immediately directed that the verification exercise for officers and men of the Federal Fire Service (FFS) be carried out as a prelude to the comprehensive re-organization of the Service. Ladies and Gentlemen, suffice to state that these measures immediately raised the morale of officers and men of the Agencies.


Having given that brief background, I wish to state, therefore, that this briefing is anchored on the strides we have made so far in addressing some of these challenges. These are in order to reposition the Ministry and its Services to deliver on our mandate in line with the government’s Transformation Agenda. This is particularly in the light of the increasing internal security challenges that we are currently witnessing and the international dimension that it is assuming.


THE MINISTRY OF INTERIOR – HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT

Before I proceed further, I wish to apprise you of how the Ministry came to be what it is today. The Ministry predates the country’s independence. It was established in 1956 as the Ministry of Internal Affairs, modeled after the British Home Office, for purposes of maintaining law and order. It was then charged with the responsibilities for internal security, public guidance, correction and reformation of delinquents and matters affecting public welfare. Others included registration of births and deaths, administration of estates, federal elections, administration of liquor licences, protection of territorial waters, etc.


There were grave ambivalences in the defined responsibilities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. These were manifest in situations where the Ministry was saddled with the responsibility of maintaining internal security without having the necessary control over the requisite indispensable para-military establishments such as the Police Force, Passport Office, Revenue and Preventive Divisions of the Customs and Excise Department. The Fire Service was also under the supervision of the Nigeria Police Force. Since then, the Ministry has undergone several structural changes both in functions and nomenclature. Today the Ministry of Interior is responsible for:


Granting of Nigerian citizenship; Consular and immigration services; Granting of business permits and expatriate quotas;

Declaration of public holidays; Co-ordination of National/Independence Day Celebrations; Reformation and re-integration of inmates; Security of lives and properties; Recruitment of officers and men of the Prison Service, Immigration Service, Fire Service and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps; and Managing the retirement benefits of retirees of some paramilitary Services.


VISION, MISSION AND MANDATE OF THE MINISTRY OF INTERIOR

The Vision of the Ministry is: “to provide complementary internal security services in accordance with international best practices;” while our Mission is “to render to Nigerians and foreigners alike diverse internal security and other ancillary services that are highly qualitative, efficient, courteous and transparent.” The mandate of the Ministry involves fostering the maintenance of internal security and citizenship integrity for the promotion of good governance. It is therefore obvious the prime place the Ministry occupies in the Transformation Agenda of this government. As we all know, every other programme in the agenda is predicated on internal security. The Ministry maintains internal security through:


The Vision of the Ministry is: “to provide complementary internal security services in accordance with international best practices;” while our Mission is “to render to Nigerians and foreigners alike diverse internal security and other ancillary services that are highly qualitative, efficient, courteous and transparent.” The mandate of the Ministry involves fostering the maintenance of internal security and citizenship integrity for the promotion of good governance. It is therefore obvious the prime place the Ministry occupies in the Transformation Agenda of this government. As we all know, every other programme in the agenda is predicated on internal security. The Ministry maintains internal security through:


i.

Protection of the society through the safe custody and reformation of those legally interned;

ii. Control of the entry into and exit from the country of all persons, monitoring the activities of all nonNigerians, issuance of visas, passports and expatriate quota;

iii.Protection

of national assets and critical infrastructure, forestalling acts of terrorism and regulation of private guards security companies; and

iv. Protection

of lives and properties against wanton destruction by fire and other emergencies.


Structure of the Ministry of Interior The Ministry executes its mandate through six Departments, four key Paramilitary Services and two Agencies as follows: Departments: i. Human Resources Management ii. Planning, Research and Statistics iii. Finance and Accounts iv. Procurement v. Citizenship and Business vi. Para-Military


Para-Military Services: I. Nigeria Prisons Services (NPS) II. Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) III. Federal Fire Service (FFS) Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

Agencies: (i) Civil Defence (ii) Fire (iii) Immigration (iv) Prisons Services Board (CDFIPS) (ii) Custom, Immigration and Prisons Pension Office (CIPPO).


• .

Programmes/Activities of the Ministry in Relation to Mandate and Challenges


Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, we have in the last one year, in our effort to deliver on our mandate and key into the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, executed several programmes and initiated some key innovative interventions


KEY INNOVATIVE INTERVENTIONS: Given the earlier narrated scenario in the Ministry, when I assumed duty as Honourable Minister there was the urgent need to review some of the policies of the sector to fast track progress in the Ministry, its Services and the Agencies. I therefore wish to mention quickly some of the key interventions we had to make.


AUTOMATION OF EXPATRIATE QUOTA ADMINISTRATION Prior to my assumption of office, the procedure for the processing of Expatriate Quota applications was very cumbersome. Thus there were unnecessary time wasting, delays and sharp-practices that constituted disincentive to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

In our desire to ease these processes to attract foreign investments and generate employment, we took a key policy decision to automate Expatriate Quota administration, through a Public/Private Partnership arrangement, at no cost to government. The project involves the automation of the processes required in processing applications or requests for expatriate quotas. When fully operational, all expatriate quota applications will be made on-line. The new arrangement has enormous advantages of speedy transactions, improved operational effectiveness, improved revenue generation and collection, reduction in transaction cost and the enthronement of transparency.


New Visa Policy Before the inception of this administration, Nigeria had a very rigid and restrictive visa policy that was not investor friendly. The policy allowed only three months entry visa subject to renewal. Issuance of visas at entry points was non-existent; there was no categorization of entry visas along business, tourists or investor classifications. We realized that a vibrant visa policy is required to create the right environment for foreign investment. Accordingly, we have taken some critical decision to bring some changes and possibly revolutionize our visa policy. This is to make it responsive to the dynamics of our times. As a result of our policy review, the following measures have been put in place:


The Nigerian Missions are now to start issuing one year multiple entry permit/visa to all deserving visitors and tourists who wish to visit Nigeria. The Nigeria Immigration Service will issue 30 days nonextendable visitor’s tourists pass on arrival. Nigerian Missions are now to ensure that they honour expatriate quota approvals. They have a duty to ensure that only expatriates with the pre-requisite qualifications as stated in the quota approval letters are issued entry visas.

Under the new visa regime there will be five (5) categories of visas, namely:


a) b) c) d) e)

Visa at Points of Entry Short Visit Visa Temporary Resident Visa Employment Based Visa Scarce Skills Transfer Visa


It is our sincere hope that our new visa regime will effectively encourage Foreign Direct Investment, tourism, business flow and, of course, generate employment.


AUTHENTICATION OF TRAVEL DOCUMENTS: Realising the need for speedy and efficient passenger clearance system at our airports we have adopted the International Civil Aviation Organisation Public Key Directory (ICAO-PKD) Global Platform. This is being installed at all our international airports to provide the needed facilities for the authentication of Nigerian epassports and other electronic Machine Readable Travel Documents (MRTD) of other countries.


BORDER CONTROL/CONTROL OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS/MONITORING OF NONNIGERIANS/EXPATRIATE QUOTAS AND VISAS There is no gain-saying that the current security challenges being faced by the country is partly attributable to the influx of illegal and undesirable elements into the country through our vast borders. In recognition of this the Ministry, particularly through the Nigeria Immigration Service, has taken several measures to secure and patrol our borders as well as monitor the activities of immigrants.


CLOSURE OF SOME BORDERS Arising from the spate of bombings and general insecurity in the country, Mr. President, in a state-of-the Nation Address on 1st January 2012, declared a State of Emergency in parts of some States of the Federation and ordered the closure of some borders. Sequel to Mr. President’s directive such borders were closed immediately. Two Deputy Controllers General of Immigration were mandated to coordinate and monitor the closures in Borno and Yobe States, respectively. On 26th February 2012 I summoned the Top Management of the Paramilitary Services and charged them to strictly enforce the closure of the borders and repatriate all illegal immigrants.


COLLABORATION WITH NEIGHBOURS ON BORDER CONTROL

Cameroun, Niger Chad


It is important to note that unless our neighbours collaborate with us it would be very difficult to effectively patrol and control our vast borders, where over 1497 irregular and 84 regular/legal entry routes have been identified. It is in realization of this fact that we have, in recent times, entered into cooperation agreements with our neighbours, namely: Cameroun, Niger and Chad, on joint border patrol/control. Similarly, we are collaborating with the ECOWAS on immigration and security issues within the sub-region. I have only recently returned from a meeting of Ministers of Countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission where the strengthening of the joint security patrol was adopted.


CONTROL OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS I can confidently inform you that, following my directive of 26th February, 2012 for the easing out of all illegal immigrants from the country, the Nigeria Immigration Service embarked on an exercise of identifying screening profiling and easing out illegal aliens accordingly. The following table indicates the achievements of the Service in this regard since February, 2012:  Foreigners Repatriated from Nigeria - 4,214

 Foreigners Deported from Nigeria

- 335

 Foreigners Refused Entry into Nigeria- 16,998

 Stowaways

- 34


OTHER IMMIGRATION SERVICES

The Nigeria Immigration Service in the last one year received 2,538 documents from Embassies/High Commissions for examination and authentication by the Document Fraud Unit (DFU) of the Service. 1,247 persons were watch-listed by the Service. 3,298 Nigerians were refused departure for possession of doubtful travel documents.

Eight (8) Foreign Missions benefited from the deployment of 44 Immigration Attaches, thereby increasing the total number of Attachees to Foreign Missions from 10 in 2010 to 54 as of today. Immigration officers visited 51 countries on special e-passport intervention program in which a total of 1,385 e-passport booklets were issued to eligible Nigerians in Diaspora without having to come home.


So far the e-passport intervention scheme has been carried out in 65 countries. The scheme is in line with Federal Government’s policy of citizenship centred diplomacy. Plans are in the works to establish service centres and dedicated mobile lines for applicants who suffer any form of encumbrances to seek redress. Since May 29, 2011, 8,910 Expatriate Quota positions were renewed while 7 were restored, 317 were re-designated while 41 were de-tagged, by the Citizenship and Business Department. In addition, 157 Business Permits were granted while 10 were amended. 1,156 Establishment Grants were issued. And 2,565 additional Grants (fresh Quota) were issued.


PROTECTION OF LIVES AND PROPERTY

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Nigerian nation has witnessed increased spate of bombings, terrorist attacks, kidnappings and armed robberies, never before seen in this country. Lives of citizens and their properties as well as government assets have come under greater threat. This situation has called for extreme vigilance, alertness and response preparedness on the part of all security Agencies. The Agencies under the Ministry of Interior have collaborated with others to respond appropriately, within the limit of their capabilities, to these incidents and emergencies.


INTERVENTION IN EMERGENCIES: As you may all be aware, the Federal Fire Service is a first responder in all emergencies, be it fire or natural disaster. However the Federal Fire Service, as it stands today, operates only in Abuja and Lagos. This has greatly constrained its activities, especially in the face of the almost comatose state of Fire Services in the States where they exist at all. That notwithstanding, the Federal Fire Service has responded immensely well, to emergencies in the country:


In

Abuja, the Service, between May, 2011 and today, responded to 42 fire related emergencies.

In

all cases in Abuja and Lagos no life was lost and property worth millions of Naira were saved.

In addition to fire emergencies the Federal Fire Service, during the last one year has responded to several emergencies in Abuja such that the UN building bomb blast of August, 2011, the Christmas day bombing of the church in Madalla, the Police Headquarter bomb attack, etc.


ďƒ˜The Nigeria Security

and Civil Defence Corps, on its part, has always been present in all emergencies all over the country. The Corps standing Emergency Response Team assisted in search and rescue operations, rehabilitation and provision of emergency centres in the disaster areas in Lagos, Kano, Katsina, Kaduna and Osun States.

ďƒ˜The

Corps has established a Disaster Management Team in all the 22 Airports across the country. The purpose is to ensure effective management of aviation related emergencies.

ďƒ˜To pre-empt fire emergencies; the Federal Fire Service has commenced the enforcement of fire safety regulations by inspecting major buildings and facilities for compliance and risk assessments, beginning with Abuja.


ANTI-VANDALISM INTERVENTIONS The insecurity in the country is perhaps more severe with regards to national assets. Oil pipeline and electricity cable vandalisations have in recent years become very big threats to the nation’s wealth and economic growth. The NSCDC has been tackling this menace with its officers and men on foot, motor cycles, motor cars and even dog patrol through all nooks and crannies of the country.


In its very penetrative activity, which makes it unique amongst all the security agencies, the NSCDC has in the last one year generated security reports that have been very useful to the security community in the country. The Corps maintains 24hrs surveillance over government infrastructure, sites and other facilities to guard against attacks by criminals and vandals. In the period since May 2011, the Corps made the following arrests relating to illegal oil bunkering activities: I. Suspects 101 II. Vehicles III. Tankers/Trailers 22 IV. Buses 8 V. Cars 3 There are 156 cases pending in various courts over vandalism related offences.


PRIVATE SECURITY GUARDS COMPANIES IN THE SECURITY OF LIVES AND PROPERTY The gravity of the security challenges facing us does not give room for any stone to be left unturned in our efforts to tackle the menace. Every citizen (individual or corporate) group, sector that counts itself on the side of good must contribute to the fight against this evil. It is in this light that the private security guards sector is being encouraged and sensitized. The Ministry, through the NSCDC, has in recent times introduced professionalism and competence into the sector. The Corps has maintained consistent and strict supervision and monitoring of the activities of Private Guard Companies, to ensure conformity with guiding rules and regulations of operations. Below is an overview statistics reflecting the regulatory activities of the NSCDC, with regards to the Private Guards Companies, between May 2011 and now:


Total No. of licensed companies Total No. of registered companies awaiting license Total No of companies sealed Total No. of companies reopened Total No. of licenses renewed Total No. of companies upgraded from category ‘A’ to ‘B’ Total No. of companies downgraded from ‘A’ to ‘B’

=

71

= = = =

60 45 5 301

=

1

=

2


PROTECTION OF SOCIETY THROUGH SAFE CUSTODY AND REFORMATION OF THE INTERNED


In recent times the role of the Prisons Service in protecting society from criminals has come more sharply into focus. Our prisons have suddenly become sources of internal security threat, no thanks to the several incidents of jail breaks, fire incidents and armed terrorist attacks. Our Prisons in Maiduguri, Kano, Bauchi, Enugu and Koton Karfe, amongst others, have come under attack within the last one year. The reasons for the attacks on the Prisons and the jail breaks are not far-fetched. The Prisons have been neglected in the past with little or no infrastructural development to match with modernization and the increase in number of inmates. Thus today we have prisons with colonial structures with very little room for humane containment. Added to this is that over 70% of inmates are awaiting trial. These notwithstanding, we have taken measures to address the problem:


New modern prisons are being constructed. A storey building block of cells has been constructed in Kaduna Prison with capacity for 112 inmates. Another storey building block of cells for 212 inmates has been completed in Kano Central Prison. A 160 bed medium security Prison has been completed and commissioned in Ikot-Epene, Akwa-Ibom State. It must be noted that this world-class facility was built in collaboration with the AkwaIbom State government.


A world class Prison has also been completed in Ado-Ekiti, in collaboration with the government of Ekiti State. These collaborations with the two State Governments is the beginning of a series of Prison relocation collaborative partnership arrangements between the Federal and State Governments. The NPS has acquired and deployed bio-metric equipment to 33 prisons nationwide to take record of inmates. Various security gadgets have also been acquired and installed in most of our Prisons, including anti-bomb car scanners and wireless radio communication equipment.

Armed squads have been posted to flash-point Prisons in the country to forestall Prison attacks and jail breaks.


Sequel to the attack on the Prison in Koto-Karfe, Kogi State, I immediately inaugurated a 5-man Panel of inquiry to look into the incident. The Panel submitted its report last week with far-reaching recommendations made. I immediately constituted a white Paper Drafting Committee to advise within two weeks on the recommendations to be adopted. It is my strong conviction that when the recommendations of the Committee are implemented, the Prison sector in Nigeria will be revolutionized for good.


•Inspite of all the challenges confronting the prisons sector, I am pleased to report that our records show a drastic reduction in recidivism (i.e freed criminals returning to prison) cases. Only 2,500 cases were reported for 2011 as against 7,000 in 2010.


CAPACITY BUILDING


Ladies and Gentlemen, much of the internal security challenges facing this country today were only until very recently very alien to us. The technology involved in many of these acts and their organization are very sophisticated. Therefore, there is the urgent need to build the requisite capacities (human and equipment) and capabilities to deal with the evil-doers in our midst. It is in recognition of this that, in the last one year and continuing, the Ministry has embarked on intensive training of its personnel and the procurement of appropriate technologies to stem the tide.


Human Capacity Development


Following is a synopsis of the human capacity efforts and achievements of the Ministry and its Services in the last one year: A total of 277 personnel of the Ministry were trained in various specialized areas to enhance service delivery.

Over 1,300 officers and men of the NSCDC have undergone training in arms and light weapons handling. Thousands of the Corps’ personnel have benefited from training programmes organized by its three colleges, namely: Civil Defence Academy, Sauka, Abuja; College of Peace and Disaster Studies, Katsina and College of Security Management, Abeokuta. Over 500 personnel of the Corps had overseas training in Italy, Israel, USA, UK, Egypt, Switzerland, Holland, Germany and several other countries in the period under review. Some officers of the Corps have also been trained in Crisis Management Procedures and Contingency Planning organized by the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).


Furthermore, officers of the NSCDC have been involved in simulation exercises with other Responder Agencies in areas of flood disaster and low intensity conflicts at Command and Staff College, Jaji in Kaduna State. For the Nigeria Prison Service, 300 personnel were recruited to strengthen its operations. Over 2,287 officers of the Prison Service were trained on new performance enhancement courses.


ďƒ˜And regarding the Nigeria Immigration Service, to strengthen its personnel capacity a total of 2,808 officers of the Inspectorate and Assistant Cadres have been recruited, trained and deployed, particularly to border patrol duties.

ďƒ˜251 officers and men of the Service equally received combat training in Gwoza, Borno State. They have since been deployed for Joint Task Force (JTF) duties in Borno and Yobe States.


Eight (8) Immigration officers recently returned from a Train-the-Trainer Course on Border Control in Italy. Last but not the least, I am pleased to inform you that the National Fire Academy in Sheda, Abuja, has commenced training activities, with the first set of graduates passing out on 27th January, 2012. To strengthen its manpower position, 182 personnel were recruited and trained. Three (3) senior officers were trained in Disaster Management while six (6) others were trained overseas on Response to Bomb Explosions. Another six (6) personnel of the Federal Fire Service undertook training on Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Awareness. In addition to training its own personnel the Federal Fire Service trained personnel from other organizations on Basic Professional Fire Fighting. These organizations include the NNPC, the Nigeria Security, Printing and Minting Company.


Acquisition of Equipment Even in the face of acute limitations of funds, the Services have acquired valuable equipments in the last one year to enhance their operational capacities: The Nigeria Immigration Service: Acquired twenty-four (24) Peugeot 307 cars as operational vehicles.

Procured a large cache of firearms to improve security and borders patrols.


•HP CDAN Voice and Data Radios have been procured and being installed in 59 immigration locations nationwide. This will provide effective communication links between the State Commands and Border Control Posts.

ď śThe Federal Fire Service: In conjunction with a private company on a Public Private Partnership arrangement, developed an automatic fire alarm system which activates as soon as smoke is detected and sends alert to the Service.


•The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps:

- established a modern Dog Kernel with veterinary clinic and other facilities. It has capacity for over 500 snifer dogs which help to detect explosives, ammunitions, narcotics and for crowd control.


Revenue Generation Although revenue generation is not one of the mandates of the Ministry of Interior, it has been contributing its modest quota to the nation’s coffers. Accordingly in the last one year the Ministry and its Services have generated revenue as follows: The Citizenship and Business Department: between May 2011 and March 2012 generated N10,354,000 on Citizenship matters, N128,181,000 on Expatriate Quota allocations and N50,390,500 from registration of marriages. The Nigeria Immigration Service: generated N5,765,652,935 from issuance of immigration facilities $11,470,312.14 (US Dollars) was generated by Foreign Missions for issuance of immigration facilities $729,600 (US Dollars) was recovered as Airline debts (fines) from Airlines for bringing into Nigeria inadmissible foreigners. The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps: generated N72 million


MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (MOU) AND LEGAL AGREEMENTS Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, in recognition of the fact that the instrument of law is and will continue to play a vital role in the Transformation Agenda of the President Jonathan Administration as well as complement our efforts in achieving internal security, the Ministry of Interior, within the period under review, successfully consummated the following legal agreements.


MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (MOU) FOR PARAMILITARY VILLAGES. The current security challenges in our nation call for adequate, timely, speedy and spontaneous deployment of men and materials to emergency locations. Similarly, minimum basic comfort is absolutely necessary if optimum performance is to be expected from our personnel. It is in realization of these variables and the fact that other Security Agencies have already achieved same, that my Ministry initiated the idea of Paramilitary Villages across the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory. An MoU has been signed with Messrs Ibyuan Resources Limited to deliver 100,000 Housing Units under this arrangement. Any moment from now, the foundation laying ceremony for the Abuja Paramilitary Village will take place.


CONSULAR ISSUES

In the middle of December last year, His Excellency, the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Kingsley Mawabolo paid me a courtesy call, at which we had fruitful discussions in respect of Consular Services between Nigeria and South Africa. We both pledged to strengthen Consular relations between the two countries, emphasizing that the revitalization of the Nigeria-South Africa BiNational Commission will greatly enhance Consular Services between the two countries. Surprisingly, and sad enough, South Africa deported over 125 Nigerians just on the heels of our promises. However, in the spirit of African brotherhood, we have put that incident behind us. I want to use this opportunity to call on the South African Government to reciprocate the Nigerian gesture on the new Visa Regime of the Federal Government which allows genuine businessmen and tourists from South Africa access to Nigeria Visa at Entry Points.


It may interest you to note that earlier this year too, a British delegation accompanied by His Excellency, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, His Excellency, the High Commissioner Andrew Lloyd and led by the Internal Director of United Kingdom Border Agency, Mr. Jonathan Sedgwick were in the country to discuss critical areas of cooperation with Nigeria on consular matters as well as the menace of terrorism. It will be recalled that in June 2005 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Nigeria and the United Kingdom on Immigration Matters was signed in Abuja. The purpose of the MoU is the provision of a legal framework to regulate existing consular cooperation and interface between the two countries. It also provides instructions on immigration returns and treatment of returnees in line with international best practices as well as respect for human and peoples’ rights and dignity. Furthermore, the MoU provides for bi-annual meeting, which is aimed at reviewing its implementation.


PRISONER TRANSFER AGREEMENT (PTA) One of the topical issues which requires an update and clarification is the issue of prisoner transfer between the UK and Nigeria other countries. I would like to say that in September last year, a delegation of Nigerian officials met with their United Kingdom counterpart. At that meeting, it was agreed that critical steps on the matter are hinged on passage of the relevant laws, i.e. Prisons Exchange Bill currently pending at the National Assembly. Without holding brief for the NASS, let me assure all of you that there is the political will and commitment in the National Assembly towards the passage of the Bill, and that they are working tirelessly to ensure that the Bill is passed. As soon as this is done, other relevant actions required in this direction will flow. It is important to add that there are a number of technical issues to be resolved before the Prisoner Exchange Bill is finally passed. These include, the issue of prisoner consent, the nature of the offence, among others.


COLLABORATION OF FOREIGN COUNTRIES WITH NIGERIA IN OUR NATIONAL SECURITY CHALLENGES. In February 2012, I received a delegation of the European Union, led by His Excellency, Ambassador David Macrel, who expressed concern over the current state of insecurity in the country and pledged the readiness of the European Union to help overcome these challenges. While we welcome the good intention of the European Union towards Nigeria, let me assure all membercountries of the European Union and other representative memberStates of the international community that Nigeria will spare no effort in bringing the crises to an end and that Nigeria still remains the best investment destination in Africa. Similarly, my Ministry witnessed the signing of an agreement between Nigeria and Cameroon last February on Joint Border Patrol between the two countries. The agreement was coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We have similar agreement with the Niger Republic, the Republic of Benin and the Republic of Chad.


CHALLENGES Ladies and Gentlemen, this briefing thus far would have undoubtedly exposed the enormous challenges facing the Ministry at this point in time. It is apparent that the challenge of Nigeria right now is our challenge. How do we stop the perpetrators of violence in our midst so that we can make the necessary progress to take us to our dream of becoming one of the 20 most developed economies by the year 2020.


FUNDING

Juxtaposing the funding demands for provision of internal security under the current threats against the required funding for other developmental needs obviously makes funding a serious challenge.


OBSOLETE LEGISLATIONS: The security sector needs reforms in order to keep pace with the Transformation Agenda of government and the ever changing face of globalization. However these reforms are being hindered by obsolete laws in some areas, for which Bills have since been sent to the National Assembly for consideration.


NIGERIA PRISONS SERVICE BILL: This Bill which seeks to amend the Prisons Act is pending in the National Assembly. BILL TO AMEND THE IMMIGRATION ACT:

This Bill which seeks to amend the old Act, which has inherent role conflicts between the Ministry and other Agencies, is pending in the National Assembly.


LACK OF ADEQUATE COOPERATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: Some other Agencies of government also bear responsibility for internal security, apart from the Ministry of Interior. To achieve effective internal security maximum synergy has to be cultivated between the Ministry of Interior and all other Agencies involved. Unfortunately this is not so for now. It is hoped that when Agencies, MDAs and Parastatals are properly re-aligned, this apparent inter-agency rivalry will stop.


LACK OF NATIONAL UNITY AND COHESION

One serious challenge facing Nigeria today, I must mentioned, is that unity and cohesion. The Regular feature of Nigeria’s national life is the attempt of Nigeria’s men of yesteryears trying to cultivate Nigerians to abuse the person and seek to undermine the authority of the president of the federal republic of Nigerian. Yet these are men whose actions or lack of them lead Nigeria to the present predicament that the nation is passing through. The actions and utterances of these men, who where in government or operated the levels of power is dividing Nigeria along ethnic and political lines thereby engendering disunity and rocking the very fabric of the nation. This ministry will collaborate with other relevant MDAs, such as the national orientation agencies to cause the necessary value the re-orientation of Nigerians .


THE WAY FORWARD: Ladies and Gentlemen, there are bound to be challenges in the life of nations. These challenges are expected to serve as necessary catalysts in our desire to attain a more equitable and just society. It is in thus light that we in the Ministry of Interior are looking at the challenges confronting the nation today and charting appropriate lines of action to overcome. And we will overcome. We have articulated specific action for the short (2012) medium (2012-2015) and long (20152020) terms.


SHORT-TERM ACTIONS. PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS:

To go round some of the funding challenges, is the short term, we are exploring all possible avenues of partnering the private sector. (a)In addition to some arrangements that have already been mentioned, the outsourcing of visa processing for Nigerian visa, through visa application centres, under a private partnership is being considered. ďƒ˜An arrangement with a consortium of American companies for the construction of 212 Fire Fighting Stations across the country is in the works.


(b)The engagement of relevant stakeholders on any subject usually addresses grey areas, remove suspicions, promote understanding and allows easier achievement of goals and objectives. Therefore we: ďƒ˜Are engaging stakeholders in all areas of our operations, including the National Assembly and other MDAs responsible for internal security with a view to synergizing better.


BORDER CONTROL The Nigeria Immigration Service will establish modern Border Plazas in the major entry points into the country. Secondary border posts are to be established as well. The Aircrafts of the Nigeria Immigration Service are being rehabilitated and reactivated for more efficient day and night patrols. A new Passport Office fully devoted to the issuance of e-passports has been completed near the NIS Headquarters and will soon be commissioned.


(C)Safety of Lives and Property ďƒ˜The NIS and the NSCDC have set up anti-bomb squads to take proactive actions in detecting explosive devices before they are detonated. The squads are being strengthened.


MEDIUM-TERM STRATEGIES

In the medium-term, 2012-2015, the Ministry of Interior will, hopefully, be strategically repositioned to deliver like its counterparts in other developed nations of the world. The Nigerian public and private sectors will work closely together in a shared agenda of securing lives and property. This will involve all security agencies, the Nigerian Police, the States, Private Organisations civil Society and Local Authorities. The Ministry will achieve this through increased collaborations and stakeholder engagements. Our borders will be better monitored through esurveillance techniques, involving satellite. This will be achieved through a Public/Private Partnership.


The Federal Fire Service would have been completely re-structured with presence in all the geopolitical zones of the country. More modern Prisons would be built to address the problem of congestion. The Federal Government would have reached out to more States to collaborate in this direction. More specific measures will taken to address over congestion along the following line

Alternative dispute resolution Application imprisonment

of

alternative

/

non-custodial

Establishment of criminal courts in large prisons.


LONG-TERM STRATEGIES In the long term the Ministry and its agencies in collaboration with all other stakeholders would have fully explored all the international dimensions of the internal security challenges. More international collaborations would be made to deal with the problem from its global origins.


CONCLUSION:

Mr. Chairman, Honourable Ministers, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, the challenges of internal security in this our beloved country is today very daunting. Non-the-less it behoves on every law abiding and peace loving Nigerian to rise up to the challenge. We have no other country but Nigeria to call our own and so we cannot sit on the fence and expect some other persons to protect us. We must fight to secure Nigeria for Nigerians and defeat this evil called terrorism. It is obvious that government alone cannot fight this fight, we cannot continue to watch our national assets and infrastructure that have been put in place over the years being wantonly destroyed by these evil misguided people in our midst. Even lives that constitute our valuable labour force are being wasted in dastardly manners.


Ladies and Gentlemen, it should concern all when precious lives are wasted with impunity. Every family has lost one dear one or the other and because terrorism and terrorist attacks have no borders, Muslims and Christians alike are victims; Hausas and Ibos alike are victims; Yorubas and the Fulanis alike are victims. Nigeria is a victim. We must all rise to defeat this evil.


Be that as it may, I wish to assure Nigerians that no matter the challenges government will always stand up to defend its citizens and territorial borders, in line with its constitutional responsibility.

THNAK YOU ALL FOR LISTENING. GOD BLESS NIGERIA


Ministry of Interior