FEC Approves Arms Procurement for Prison Guards

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

Shola Oyeyipo

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) Thursday granted approval for the procurement of arms and ammunition for the armed guards of the Nigerian Prisons Service.

The meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo also approved the procurement, installation and inauguration of Instrument Landing System (ILS) and Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) to guide pilots and planes to the central line of the runway in Abuja, Kaduna, Benin, Ibadan and Enugu airports

Briefings journalists after the FEC meeting, the Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Dambazzau (rtd), said the approval for the procurement of arms for prison guards was necessitated by the need to secure the prisons, particularly where inmates require maximum security.

Drawing inference from the Minna, Niger State prison attack where some dangerous prisoners were set free, Dambazzau said: “We realised after investigation of that attack that one of the major shortcomings within that prison was lack of adequate arms and ammunition.

“We are procuring 400 pieces of Beretta assault rifles with 20, 000 rounds. These rounds are peculiar to those weapons at the cost of N272, 489, 280 with period of delivery of 120 days.”

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, noted that the contract for the procurement and installation and commissioning of ILS and DME had been awarded long before now but that due to exchange rate, it had to be brought back to council, as it suffered lack of budgetary allocations.

“So, we came back to council to have it re-dominated. It was totally awarded in December 2011 but nothing happened because there was no budgetary allocation; therefore it suffered fluctuations of forex change,” Sirika said.

According to him, the contract was awarded at a time the Naira was N154 to a dollar but now it is N305 to a dollar.

“So, council has approved and the user department is Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA). This is a very important instrument for us, to be able to operate in poor weather conditions and to be able to take the planes down to the central lines of the runway for safe pilotage. So, this is a safety concern and gladly it has been approved,” he added.

He said the initial cost of the equipment was N1, 590, 361, 027 .20 but it has been re-dominated to the tune of N3, 149, 740, 995. 42.

Also, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, submitted two memoranda – one of which was for a cost revision for the Ilorin-Omuaran-Kabba road reconstruction.

The contract for the very crucial road was initially awarded at N13.541 billion in 2013 while the Egbe-Kabba was awarded in 2017 to complete the link to Kabba, Kogi State.

“So we now have cost revision from previous award in 2013 because of exchange rate, price fluctuations. It has gone from N29.951 billion to N43.492 billion, so it is a variation of N13.541 billion.

“Second contract approved was for the Odukpani junction to Apet Central in Cross River State. That is 73 kilometers at the cost of N14.014 billion. This section completes the link from Calabar-Itu all the way to Ogoja-Gakem.

“If you have followed the development, we have Julius Berger on the Calabar-Itu section and Sematec on the Ugep-Alese section and PW on the Ikom-Mbok section and Wellstone on the Ogoja-Gakem section. So it was Odukpani to Apet that had no contract. That is where you would have reported in the past that some patrol tanker trucks and stuff have been stuck.

“So that contract has been awarded and hopefully as we head into dry season, reconstruction work will start there and continue along the entire leg,” Fashola stated.

He told journalists that during the rainy season the ministry had gone round to identify roads that have been damaged as a result of the rains and that there is a plan to repairs, rehabilitate and reconstruct affected roads over the next seven months.

The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibrin hinted that the council approved a memo for the ratification of the Doha Amendment of the Kaito Protocol, which concerns the United Nations framework conventions on climate change which is a major global issue across the world now.

According to Jibrin, “The Kaito Protocol was crafted in 2004 and Nigeria is a party to that. The initial period of commitment of the protocol was from 2008-2012. The new segment now is from 2013-2020. The essence of this protocol is commit advanced countries or developed countries that are mostly industrialized and are at the forefront of the production of gaseous emission which is harmful to the environment, which is leading to climate change and therefore causing global problem environmentally.

“While they emit more than we the developing nations, that was why the world came together to look at this issues and the developed nations are compelled to take responsibility for their action.”

Jibrin said the Doha Amendment of the Kaito Protocol is basically to get developed nations who are industrialised and are leading in production of gaseous materials into the atmosphere to take responsibility and to assist countries like Nigeria who are developing and who are not producing any significant emission but are suffering the consequences.

“So the benefit Nigeria stands to gain from this Doha Amendment of the Kaito Protocol is that, first of all, once the amendment is ratified as we want it to be, there will be access to financial assistance which will help in motivating and adapting to impact of climate change.

“Secondly, there will be access to technology and capacity building and there will also be networking with other nations and organisations who are more advanced and can be of help to us as a country and lastly, continuation of flexible mechanisms and contribution to global efforts as no one country has the solution for this problem alone. So the idea is to team up and then get the developing countries to be assisted effectively,” he noted.

He assured the people that the interest of government is to get the agreement ratified as it was done at the FEC meeting, stressing that “the next stage will be for the Attorney-General to provide the instrument of ratification which will be signed later by Mr. President and be deposited at the United Nations in New York.”