The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N272.4million for the procurement of arms and ammunition for the Nigerian Prison Service (NPS) to fortify prisons across the country.
The Minister of Interior, retired Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, disclosed this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Council’s meeting which was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Dambazau addressed the correspondents alongside the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika and the Minister of State, Environment, Alhaji Ibrahim Usman.
Dambazau said: “I presented a memo for procurement of arms and ammunition for armed guards of the prisons.
“As you know there is need to secure all our prisons particularly where we have inmates that require maximum security.
“And also you would recall that not too long ago, the prison in Minna was attacked from outside.
“People came, armed and attacked the prison and freed some of the dangerous prisoners.
“The prison has an armed squad and we realised after investigations 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.’’
For his part, the Minister of State, Aviation, Sirika, revealed that the council approved the procurement, installation and commissioning of an Instrument Landing System (ILS).
ILS is an instrument landing system which guides pilots and planes with both vertical and horizontal guidance while approaching the central lines of the runway.
He said the equipment would be installed in Abuja, Kaduna, Ibadan Enugu and Benin airports.
Sirika said that the contract, which was initially awarded in Dec. 2011 at the cost of N1.5billion, suffered lack of budgetary allocation,
The minister, however, disclosed that the contract had been re-awarded at the cost of N3.1billion.
“This contract was awarded a long time ago but due to exchange rate, we had to bring it back to council, it suffered lack of budgetary allocations.
“So we came back to council to have it re-denominated. It was initially awarded in December 2011 but nothing happened because there was no budgetary allocation.
“It 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.
“The initial cost was N1,590,361,027.20 but it has been re-denominated to N3,149,740,995.42,’’ Sirika said.
The minister of power, works and housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, revealed that the council approved two contracts for the ministry including a cost revision memorandum of N13.5 billion for the reconstruction of Ilorin – Omuaran – Kabba road, linking Kwara to Kogi State.
“We now have cost revision from previous award in 2013 because of exchange rate, price fluctuations.
“It has gone from N29.951billion to N43.492billion, so it’s a variation of N13.541billion.
“Second contract approved was for the Odukpani junction to Apet Central in Cross River State; that is 73 kilometres at the cost of N14.014billion. This section completes the link from Calabar-Itu all the way to Ogoja-Gakem,’’ he said.
The minister announced that his ministry would soon embark on rehabilitation of roads damaged during the rainy season.
He said: “We have gone round during the rainy season and identified roads that have been damaged as a result of the rains.
“So subject to funding now, we have a plan to repair, rehabilitate and reconstruct over the next seven months to May next year when there is dry weather.
“So you should see us across the various places where flood has done some damage trying to repair.’’ NAN