By Sodiq Yusuf
The Media Adviser to the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Mr. Sola Fasure has refuted a statement credited to him where he was quoted to have said the Minister rebuffed the Governor of Oyo State and by implication other Governors, not to install critically needed infrastructure to support the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) and its Custodial Facilities in their states.
Fasure in a statement on Thursday said his comments while featuring on a radio interview were quoted out of context.
He explained that he had in the interview restated Aregbesola’s request to states to assist in the building of more holding centres for awaiting trial inmates noting that the Federal Government appreciates the support of states in assisting the Nigerian Correctional Service NCoS carry out its mandate.
The statement said: “My attention has been drawn to a statement circulating in the media stating that the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has rebuffed the Governor of Oyo State, and by implication, other State Governors not to install critically needed infrastructure and offer other support to the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) and its custodial facilities in each state.
“My comments were taken out of context from a telephone interview granted to a radio station in Ibadan on Monday, concerning the unconscionable attack on the custodial centre in Abolongo, Oyo, Oyo State. I did not speak to any newspaper and did not issue any statement from which the views credited to me could have been extracted. The various newspaper reports ascribed to me are therefore mere projections of the fancies of the authors anchored on the radio interview.
“In the interview, I restated the Minister’s earlier request to state governments to build holding centres for awaiting trial inmates who constitute more than 70 per cent of inmates at the custodial centres. I also made it clear that the Federal Government will appreciate any assistance from the State Governments that will complement the ongoing infrastructure upgrade at the various custodial centres.
“It is unfortunate that some mischief makers who thrive on pitching public functionaries against each other decided to twist my answers to the different questions asked by the interviewer.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, enjoins all state governments and other critical stakeholders to support the Ministry and the NCoS, in improving the administration of criminal justice in the country and by extension, infrastructural facilities to be used in reforming and rehabilitating deviants.
“The NCoS stands at the end of a long line in the administration of criminal justice system. It is a critical and essential element in keeping those the courts directed must be kept away from our society. Though more than 90 per cent of those currently in our facilities are state offenders and suspects, the Federal Government have been solely responsible for their safe keep and welfare.
“The State & Local Governments, the private sector and other critical stakeholders are enjoined to support the NCoS in carrying out this critical national assignment,” he concluded.