June 5th, 2012
President, every now and then in life you
find an individual in various part of the globe who is
willing to tell the noble truth. In Nigeria mostly, is it
very difficult to find somebody with the courage to tell the
truth especially if it is a bitter truth?
As a scholar and
practitioner in forensic psychology with a focus on prison
and police matters as well as one who recently returned home
from the United States of America after about three decades,
there is need for the full examination of some of these
internal security issues.
Now, what are the lines
of noble truths that came from the mouth of Comrade Patrick
Abba Moro, the Minister of Interior?
His words are crucial to
achieving the Jonathan Transformation Agenda especially in
the areas of internal affairs of our nation.
Mr. President, only if
you are able to have access to this open letter, it will be
one way for you to be able to experience the pain and
bitterness that Minister Moro described in many of his
recent words about the internal-based security hurdles and
other related matters.
Sir, we need experts,
who in the spirit of the nation and for the service of the
people will thrive to tackle many compounding issues raised
by Minister Moro, and for the sake of the society the expert
service should come out voluntarily, and it should be done
professionally and in a timely way.
collectivization of services the expected services should be
of help to all of us and not for one’s own selfish sake and
in all of these we need experts and leaders with a cycle of
Speaking about clear
conscience, we now know openly through the Minister that
since 1981 at least 10 prison projects were contracted with
many of them suffering abandonment. Again, since 1981.
Mr. President this
information which you may already know of and be aware of
remains mind burgling.
Mr. President, we all
agree that nation-making must surely occur slowly but it
must be executed progressively by men and women of
In another issue, the
Minister as part of his sacred task and as a man who is vast
of the elements and local factors evoked a sense of pain and
worry about a nation where during personnel selection for a
job a serving senator may send a letter requesting a member
of his constituency to be selected—no matter what is on
ground for the admitting agency.
The senator’s letter or
request is generally obliged to in the midst of high
competition for a tight position. And not picking the
senator’s or another Higher official’s choice is a
temptation that is not worth risking.
Mr. President, this
dilemma could be reduced if employment to jobs are based on
merit as you recently ordered for in executive positions
where you made it clear that one does not need to know
anybody to be employed.
Mr. President, as you
vigorously put to practice your administration's national
transformation agenda in the course of turning the country
around we will need more of the likes of Comrade Patrick
Abba Moro who will disclose real and painful aspects about
our internal affairs. We need the likes of him who will stay
on to drive the administration's transformation agenda in
regards to many security threats in our country at this
Mr. President, as an
expert in prison matters it is only proper to state to you
to use boldness to reduce a long standing ambivalence raised
by Minister Moro. In other words, how does one expect a
Ministry charged with the responsibility of almost
guaranteeing internal security perform superior, when
functions which supposed to be under the control of ministry
of internal affairs as done in healthy societies are placed
under other ministries as in the case of the Nigeria Police
and the Nigeria Customs Service—Mr. President this is crazy.
In fact, internal
security and community areas like the National Emergency
Management Agency and the National Youth Service Corp should
be under the ministry of interior or internal Affairs.
For the sake of
coordination or planning security matters in regards to
domestic affairs, disaster management and general national
service one body or ministry should carry out all the
required measures relating to internal affairs issues,
especially when we all know that all these areas complement
Mr. President, how can
one argue in a non-psychotic way that the Ministry of
Interior which is officially charged with Prison management
and responsibilities has one of its mightiest challenges and
issues—congestion—being handled by the Ministry of Justice
where the prison decongestion program of the federal
government is currently domiciled?
Mr. President, this
approach is not only self-defeating but could cause
unnecessary challenges due to operational logistics.
The Minister alerted the
nation of inmates’ inaccessibility to the courts due to
inadequate vehicles; now we see why the Chief Justice of
Nigeria, Dahiru Musdapher cried out recently about the 110,
000 plus cases that are pending before our courts across the
nation with no quick rescue in sight.
Mr. President, this is
a serious issue that could have been addressed long time ago
as convicts /suspects held in prison(a place that suspects
are not supposed to be in the first place) could become more
of institutional risk and judicial mess if these problems
How do we tell the world
that series of postponements of court appearances result
from lack of vehicles to convey suspects or inmates to the
courts in a country that is financially the largest market
The Minister has shown
that he is not only a focused and bold leader but an ethical
leader as he continues to exemplify moral leadership in
regards to his strong concern for children.
Mr. President, adult
prison is no place for kids, yet as pointed out by the
Minister there are juveniles in our prison.
There used to be a time
when the practice of locking up undeveloped people or
children with adult criminals across the world but that was
a time marked with policies of the 1700s.
The Minister as part of
his ethical leadership sees the urgent need for the building
of an adequate number of remand homes for minors.
Mr. President, the
creation of institutions and juveniles’ residential centers
away from prisons is for the sole purpose of bringing
modification in their behaviors and actions very early on.
And putting a juvenile in prison could actually make a
criminal out of a potentially good child. Mr. President what
is wrong with us?
Actually the affairs of
juvenile delinquents should be the non-function of the
Nigeria Prison Service, instead it should be housed in a
ministry that is concerned with social development, families
and children as that is where substantial responsibilities
of children usually takes place.
Mr. President with the
continued revelations that our prisons are congested with
about fifty thousand inmates as well as the fact that almost
70 percent of them are awaiting trial the criminal
prosecution phase of our judiciary should be made to
implement the provisions of suspended sentence and
The provisions of
suspended sentence and probation are already directly or
directly in the Criminal Procedure Act but for some reasons
the Nigeria judiciary to date, still holds on to the
colonial mentality of strict punishment. This plain insanity
especially now that we are currently in the 21st
Mr. President it is time
to put to reality Chief Justice Dahiru Musdapher’s call for
a complete overhaul of our criminal law and policies in
regards to full allowances for suspended sentence and other
Mr. President, under
Moro's leadership, change is certain in the management of
our internal affairs but only if his very capable leadership
continues to get the highest support in terms full blown
realignment of institutional functions, and their delivery.
The expert breakdown of
many the issues facing internal security have been raised in
here in terms of their need for coherence.
While no one is asking
the President, to help straighten out these problems today,
you Sir should quickly help bring out some degree of
transformation to many of these complications by putting a
stop the madness.
Mr. President, our
internal security challenges do not have to be this way as
you know they can be reduced only if you go in full swing on
many challenges revealed by the Minister Moro and analyzed
with solutions by this expert.
Mr. President with a
bold, timely, and rapid resolve to many of these issues you
Sir will go into history as a real Transformation President
John Egbeazien Oshodi,
Ph.D., is an Abuja-based Forensic/Clinical Psychologist.