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Minister of Interior Talks Tough, Sets Performance Agenda for Agencies

The Minister of Interior, Hon. Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, on Saturday charged the agencies under his oversight to brace up for higher performance targets whilst highlighting the new priorities in line with the Renewed Hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

While thanking the officers particularly the Permanent Secretary, the Secretary of the Board, the Ministry’s Directors, the Chief Executives of the Immigration, Correctional, Fire Service and NSCDC, for the support, loyalty and cooperation he had enjoyed, he used the opportunity to chart the way forward.

He declared that after this retreat, “when you err it will not be out of ignorance but by choice and which will be appropriately dealt with.

Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo warned that the next time, the mood of the retreat will be different as there will be set targets which would be broken into milestones. “So by the time you are coming next, the CGs will make a presentation on the journey so far”, he said.

“I have always said this, the idea of administration in public space is running public business as your private business. If the Ministry of Interior or Nigeria Immigration Service or Correctional Service is your company, will you run it aground? The way you will handle it if you know you want to build a company you want to hand over to your children, that same mentality we must bring to public service.

“And where there are no appointments there cannot be disappointments. So we will create appointments, we will create milestones, we will create targets.
For each of the Agencies he raised salient issues and questions which could enrich the discourse at the retreat towards improving the quality of services by the Ministry.

Highlighting some of the expectations, he said, in a cryptic reference to the superior performance of the Immigration service compared to the others, “By the time I am done as minister of Interior I do not pray to be remembered as the Minister of Immigration Service, I want to be remembered as the Minister of Interior.

Shedding more light, the Minister said, “What this means is that NCoS (Correctional Service) you must up your game, think inwards, come up with solutions. I have always said money is not always the solution to problems. The first thing is you understanding the problem, then you proffer solutions then the last thing is the funding mechanism. We can give you any amount of money and still you will not deliver if you do not understand the problem.

“The first question we need to ask ourselves is what are we doing differently now as against what we were doing before the enactment of the Correctional service Act? What is the difference between the Act that established the Prison Service and the Correctional service. What we have now is it just a change of nomenclature or a change of ideology? Issue of non- custodial measures, how are we tackling that? Why do I have an Ikoyi prison that was built for 800 people and today it is housing over 3000 people, yet the convicted inmates are just slightly over 300? Some of these issues is not about money but about policy. Do we establish correctional centres to condemn or correct people?

“The NSCDC, I love what you’ve started with the private security guards but there is more you can do, especially in your core responsibility of protection of critical national assets. The era when NSCDC is competing with the police is over! There are pipelines, telecommunications infrastructure, power infrastructure, we have schools, we have national assets to be protected from vandalism, from economic sabotage. This is where NSCDC needs to come in. My dream and the dream of Mr. President is for the NSCDC to be a specialized security outfit dedicated to the protection of national critical assets. So in this new era moving forward we want to see practically issues on critical national assets.

“For any telecommunications infrastructure that is destroyed it’s a minus for NSCDC; for any pipeline that is vandalized, it is a minus for NSCDC; for any school that is attacked successfully it is a minus for NSCDC; for any public infrastructure that is destroyed, it is a minus for NSCDC. You can imagine the number of thousands of kilometres of pipelines, imagine our refineries, imagine our schools, our power dams, agricultural facilities, mining fields, so we have enough work than doing what police is already doing. There is no room for duplication, duplication kills efficiency and anything that kills efficiency brings deficiency.

“And the Fire service- the most untapped part of our ministry. The Fire service in many parts of the world is one of the highest employers of labour because it is the first responder to emergencies not just fire. What do we need to move the fire service from being just responders to enumerators and regulators? What do we need to do to bring the private sector more into the Fire Service?

He was full of praises for the Nigerian Immigration service. “Nigeria Immigration Service, I say this very clearly, I congratulate you for your many wins. I can clearly say with the next one, two, three projects that we have in our heads there will be a complete automation.

Speaking to journalists after the opening session, the Minister summarized the expectations from the agencies as efficiency and domiciliation of renewed hope in their various parastatals.

“Renewed hope in essence of performing better, in terms of meeting up with the yearnings of Nigerians and of course, a more efficient way of executing their responsibilities by virtue of technology and better human resources allocation, and knowing fully well that in whatever they do, the only thing worth consideration is Nigeria, the interest of Nigerians.”

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