By Alhassan A. Bala
In every country across the globe the interior ministry is the one in charge of the internal security, providing solutions to internal security of the country.
Part of the responsibility of the interior ministry of many countries is providing information and update related to security challenges – attacks, communal crisis, among others.
The Nigeria ministry of interior, in its official website, says it is “To render to Nigerians and foreigners alike, diverse internal security and other ancillary services that are highly qualitative, efficient, courteous and transparent.”
The Ministry of Interior has undergone several structural changes both in functions and nomenclature and today the Ministry of Interior is responsible for:
“Granting of Nigerian Citizenship;
Consular and Immigration Services;
Granting Business Permits and Expatriate Quotas;
Establishment and Maintenance of Federal Marriage Registries in Nigeria Licensing and renewal of Places of Worship for the celebration of marriages Issuance of Secured Federal Marriage Certificates in all the Federal Marriage Registries
Co-ordination of National/Independence Day Celebration;
Reformation and re-integration inmates;
Security of lives and properties;
Management of National emergencies;
Recruitment of officers and men of the Prisons Service, Immigration Service, Fire Service and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps; and
Managing the retirement benefits of retirees of Paramilitary Services under its supervision.”
From 1999, the ministers of interior mostly visit scenes of a disaster or any attack, be it communal, fire incidents or terrorists attack for assessment.
In the first tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari, he included police as part of agencies under interior ministry though in 2019 the two went their separate ways.
Nigeria has been battling with Boko Haram insurgency for a decade now; the issue of kidnapping that started from the Niger Delta region has spread to all parts of the country, as it is gradually becoming business for the criminals. The porous state of Nigerian borders is another worrying issue.
Information concerning criminal activities are everywhere, unlike other countries where one will only get them through the military, police and in some few occasions ministry of information.
Nigeria, once again, is in her trying moment as citizens are divided following ethnic and religious sentiments.
The vacation order for Fulanis to leave some states of the south-west is getting hotter with many issues coming up. While some divisive individuals are using that opportunity to over blow the issue and thereby heightening tension.
Lest we forget the burning of many houses in Enugu state by some cultists, which led to the lost of unquantifiable lives and properties.
With the current crisis in south-west, which, sadly, brought the Arewa Consultative Forum and Afenefere under each other’s neck, although many leaders like former Senate president Bukola Saraki have already called for peace.
The minister of interior, Ogbene Ra’uf Aregbesola, who incidentally is from the region this latest crisis is currently brewing, should have at least, even if unable to visit the burnt places, made a clear statement on the matter.
Albeit, Aregbesola had on his first day at work said he doesn’t know the work of the ministry, so people should not expect much from him, literally.
It has now been almost two years since his assumption in office, but a question continues to ring laud and lauder by the day: is the minister still ignorant about the work of the ministry?
If not, are we not at fault if we henceforth believe that the minister has officially became the minister of public holiday declaration?
Or is it only for to him inaugurate offices of agencies under his ministry?
With many challenges facing the country, the minister, as a matter of urgency, needs to make clear statement, and visit areas affected by many either communal crisis, cultism, fire incidents and a myriad of other internal crisis.
Looking at all these, one is compelled to again wonder whether the current minister do not value the lives of Nigerians, which will clearly (and expectedly) not be so.
Be that as it may, a section of the public needed to be made clear about this development, because you can blame them if they assume that the minister’s zipped mouth was a result of the fact that the properties lost were largely own by the poor?
Until the minister proves people wrong about these doubts, then many will have no option than to continue to tag the minister as the “minister of public holidays.”
Alhassan A. Bala
Writes this from Abuja.