FG Drops Black Maria Vehicles for Green Maria

Abdulrahman Dambazau

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) wednesday in Abuja resolved to replace Black Maria vehicles for the conveyance of prisoners with Green Maria.

Briefing journalists in the State House after the weekly FEC meeting, Interior Minister, Abdulraman Danbazzau, said the council approved his memorandum to henceforth purchase Green Maria as against Black Maria.

He said the decision was meant to reflect the fresh initiative not to see prisons as places of vengeance and punishment but rehabilitation centres.

Against this background, Dambazzau said FEC approved N1.5billion for the purchase of 116 Green Maria vehicles, adding that buying such a large number of vehicles had become necessary in view of the shortage of vehicles for prison operations at the moment.

“The third aspect is the Nigerian Prisons. That also has to do with procurement of operational and Green Maria vehicles not Black Maria. We just changed the name to reflect the current thinking on rehabilitation and treatment of inmates.

“We are procuring 116 vehicles…which will cost N1, 584, 64,560. Because of lack of logistics, the vehicles that have contributed in the past are still not enough to take inmates and those awaiting trials to court,” he said.

The minister also said the council approved N3.952 billion for the procurement of fire-fighting trucks.

According to him, when this administration came on board in 2015, there was only one rickety fire-fighting truck in Abuja.

“So we embarked, as part of the security sector reform efforts, to reduce the loss and also curtail the incidence of fire. We embarked on the procurement of fire-fighting trucks, water tankers among others,” he added

According to him, in 2016, 21 firefighting vehicles, including water tankers, were purchased while in 2017, 22 other firefighting trucks were procured.

“The government is doing everything possible to ensure that the fire incidents are contained and also controlled.

“These fire trucks are being distributed accordingly. We identified areas that have the fire hazards and of course, we are just starting this and we will continue this effort,” he added.

Dambazzau also said FEC approved another memorandum on behalf of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) for the construction of technology building which he described as a data command control and communication centre at the cost of N7.119 billion.

Disclosing that the rationale behind the idea is to bring together all the data used by NIS under one roof, Dambazzau said whereas data are currently domiciled with service providers, with the coming of the technology building, all data would be brought together under one roof to enhance internal security.

In his briefing, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said the council approved variation cost for Abuja airport runway.

“So, the work was reviewed and the cabinet approved the increase of N628,123, 000 as variation on the job which then will bring the entire contract to N6.5 billion.

“What we refer as variation is more or less additional work we ran into because of the construction and repair of the runway,” he explained.

Amaechi also said the council approved N1.210 billion for the purchase Pilot Compasses which he described as vessels conveying pilots that move ships or vessels from one point to another.

He said: “Currently, we have Pilot Compasses everywhere excluding Tincan and Apapa. Tin Can and Apapa constitute the Western port. So, we came to cabinet to request that they award the contract in purchase of two Pilot Compasses to serve both Tincan and Apapa.

“It was awarded at N1, 210, 335, 35. That is the naira equivalent of $3,956,000. It was approved and awarded to a firm.”