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Jailbreaks: Security Experts Differ Over Aregbesola’s Shoot-On-Sight Order



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Security experts have expressed divergent views over a shoot-on-sight order given by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, against anyone who attempts to attack any correctional centre in the country.

The minister gave the order while inspecting the Agodi Custodial Centre in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Reacting to the development, a Lagos-based security consultant, Oladele Fajana, described the order as primitive and a show of force.

He said the Federal Government was not proactive on security situations as it always waited for a breach before taking actions.

Fajana said, “That order is primitive and characteristic of most Nigerian leaders. They are not always proactive, but reactive. They always wait for something to happen before they take action. I see that order as a show of force.

“There have been situations where these kinds of orders were being given and those criminals would not attack till the security operatives relax.”

Backing Fajana, another security expert, Jackson Lekan-Ojo, said the minister did not have the right to give such an order.

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He stated, “No minister has the right to give a shoot-on-sight order. Nobody is accepted to be guilty until a court of competent jurisdiction says the person is guilty. How can you say security operatives should open fire on someone, who has not been pronounced guilty by the court?

“That is the lawlessness we are talking about in this country. It is very wrong. Most of these ministers are frustrated and they don’t know what they are meant to be doing again. They want to hinge their non-performance on a particular thing.”

He advised the Federal Government to put serious surveillance around the facilities to stop incessant jailbreaks.

Also reacting, the spokesman for the Pan Niger Delta Group, Ken Robinson, wondered if the minister were the Commander-in-Chief.

He said, “I am not sure the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria empowers him to make such a statement. I don’t think it is right. Of all the problems we have had, it is from the ways we have been conducting the affairs of government.

“It is criminal for anybody to attack a correctional facility, but I don’t think that the minister has the constitutional powers to say that. If he does not have such powers, I think the Presidency should caution him.”

However, the spokesman for the Coalition of Northern Groups, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said there was nothing wrong with the order if it was within the minister’s powers.

He said, “I am not sure if he (Aregbesola) has the powers to give such an order. I think only the Commander-in-Chief can give that order. But, if the minister has the powers, we have no objection to that, because criminality is criminality and ought to be stopped. It has to be stopped and this can only be done in the language that the criminals understand.

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“No nation will allow its prisons to be broken into at will and convicts released. If he (Aregbesola) has the powers, it is fine. His legal team should advise him to go through the right channel.”

However, a security expert, Yemi Adeyemi, said the order was not misplaced in the light of frequent attacks on correctional centres.

He said, “We used to have one IG (Inspector-General of Police) then who declared ‘Operation Fire for Fire’ and Nigeria had not even got worse to this present level then. Now, Nigeria is getting worse every day; things are happening every day. If the security agencies can be careful enough not to shoot innocent people, it is good. I support it.

“The issue of breaking into prisons has now become rampant as criminals just release their colleagues and the security agents will not do anything. If there is an order like this, it will serve as a deterrent to them.”

Credit: The Punch

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