THE Federal Government has approved procurement of arms and ammunition for prison guards throughout the country to secure the prisons, particularly where inmates require maximum security.
The approval was made yesterday by Federal Executive Council (FEC) at its weekly meeting which was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Procurement for installation and commissioning of Instrument Landing System (ILS) and Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) to guide pilots and planes to the central line of the runways in Abuja, Kaduna, Benin, Ibadan and Enugu airports was also approved.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Dambazzau (rtd) said the approval for the procurement of arms for prison guards was necessitated by present needs.
“We realised after investigation of that attack 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,” Dambazzau said.
It will be recalled that Minna, Niger State prison was recently attacked by hoodlums who set some dangerous prisoners free.
Also, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, noted that the contract for the procurement and installation and commissioning of ILS and DME had been awarded long before now but that due to exchange rate, it had to be brought back to council, as it suffered lack of budgetary allocations.
According to him, the contract was awarded at a time the Naira was N154 to a dollar but now it is N305 to a dollar, adding that the initial cost of the equipment was N1, 590, 361, 027 .20 but it later got re-dominated to the tune of N3, 149, 740, 995. 42 to cover overhead.
“So we came back to council to have it re-dominated. It was totally awarded in December 2011 but nothing happened because there was no budgetary allocation, therefore it suffered fluctuations of forex change. 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,” Sirika said.