Nigeria’s Ministry of Interior seems to be taking a turn for the better with various developmental policies introduced by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration beginning to yield good fruits.
Some of these policies came into being a year ago when Mr Buhari constituted his second term cabinet and deployed Rauf Aregbesola to head the ministry.
The ministry has supervisory control over the Nigeria Immigration Service(NIS), the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) , Federal Fire Service ( FFS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
Mr Aregbesola, a former governor of Osun State, took over the reins of power from Abdurahman Dambazau, who was not reappointed by the President.
PREMIUM TIMES reviews the performance of Mr Aregbesola after his one year in office
The journey so far.
Improvement in staff welfare:
On assumption of duty, Mr Aregbesola promised to make life better for the staff in the ministry and the agencies under the ministry.
To the minister, equipping staff and giving them relevant training will motivate them to be efficient and productive.
He said staff welfare would be a top priority of his and that he would make a strong case for training, equipping and motivating the personnel, emphasising that a well motivated personnel will deliver well on the job
Keeping to his promise, the ministry organised workshops for the staff of NIS and NCoS and also deployed fire fighting trucks to Baylesa and Kaduna respectively.
It also promoted 3548 staff of the NIS and NCos. He also commissioned Kwara and Adamawa States commands of the NIS and unveiled the Forward Operation base in Katsina State.
Relations with other countries:
Mr Aregbesola had promised to restore the confidence of the international community where business partnership will be established among Nigeria and other countries.
He also said his ministry would restore the confidence of the global community in doing business with Nigeria by enhancing the ease of doing business.
So far, the ministry has signed a Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the Federal Government with the Belarusian Minister of Internal Affairs, Yuri Karayev, in Minsk with actions planned towards ending poverty and inequality in both countries leveraging on each other’s experience.
Well, after a year in office, the MoU with Belarus is yet to generate any positive returns accruing to the country. Perhaps implementation of the MoU is still in the pipeline.
To tackle the rising wave of general insecurity in the country, Mr Aregbesola had promised to ensure that national peace and stability is attained, although he did not specifically state how he would achieve such. .
A year after Mr Aregbesola made the promise, Nigeria is still bedeviled with all kinds of security problems and instability ranging from banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, violent protests to Boko Haram, ISWAP insurgency in the northern parts of the country, among others.
Correctional Centre Reforms and Decongestion:
Per the Nigerian Correctional Centres in the country, formerly called Nigerian Prison Service, Mr Aregbesola said he would restore sanity and hygiene in the correctional service centres for the inmates.
Mr Aregbesola said that the dignity of the inmates must be well respected and that they must be free from any form of abuse & negative influence. .
Also, the minister said the inmates ‘must have peace of mind by ensuring that the environment of the correctional centres remains a conducive atmosphere for them to reflect on their past life and make the transition to a new life easy for them.
Another major activity was the ministry’s decision to decongest the correctional centres in the last one year. So far, the de-congestion policy only occurred in some states in the country with only 9071 inmates regaining their freedom in the last one year.
In the same vein, 870 inmates were able to continue their educational courses. Virtual learning center was opened in Kaduna State and pharmaceutical drugs distributed across the correctional centres in the country.
Be that as it may, considering the terrible state of most of the correctional centres in the country, poor feeding conditions, among others, some commentators are of the view that Mr Aregbesola needs to step up his game in order to tackle the myriad problems confronting the centres.
The New Visa Policy:
There is a new visa policy in place: Nigerian Visa Policy(NVP)2020 launched by Mr Buhari.
The new Visa Policy now has 75 categories which include Religious Visa, Sport Visa, Entertainment Visa, several others which were not part of the old visa policy.
No doubt, the new visa policy is a welcome development and can be termed an achievement for Mr Aregbesola.
Ndubisi Nwokolo, the team lead for Nexitier and security expert, said Mr Aregbesola’s performance can be rated as below average, but added that serious efforts should be rolled out to achieve internal security in the country.
“I don’t think he will score up to 30 percent, I think the security situation in Nigeria is nothing to write home about,” he said.
” He has not done well in the last one year, if it’s in some other countries by now some of the ministers will be looking for new jobs.
“The country is in a security dilemma , we need to deal with it, if we don’t, investors will not come,” he said.