The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has declared all custodial centres in Nigeria as ‘red zones’, instructing personnel to use maximum force on any attacker.
He gave the instruction yesterday in Abuja while addressing the Squadron Commanders of the Nigeria Correctional Services (NCoS).
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This move is coming after many attacks on Nigerian custodial centres in recent times.
He said the custodial facilities are symbols of the authority of Nigeria, adding that they were sacred and invaluable formations.
The Minister, therefore, instructed the personnel to guard and defend the facilities with their lives.
Aregbesola said: “It’s no longer a happenstance; they are now all coordinated attacks. I declare henceforth all our custodial centres red zones.
“You [arms personnel] have no excuse at all to allow our facilities to be 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 support from some officers of the NCoS.
He said an investigation was ongoing over the attack on the custodial centre in Owerri where close to 2000 inmates were released by hoodlums.