FG renames Black Maria to Green Maria, orders 116 new vans for N1.5bn


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The Federal Government has renamed the vehicles used to transport Nigerian prison inmates to from Black Maria to Green Maria in a bid to uplift the image of the nation's prison system.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, while he was speaking to State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday, November 7, 2018.

Explaining the reason behind the change, the minister said it reflects the the government's initiative to make prisons appear more as rehabilitation centres than places of punishment.

"We just changed the name to reflect the current thinking on rehabilitation and treatment of inmates," he said.

The minister further revealed that 116 new vehicles, at the cost of N1.5 billion, have also been ordered by the government to ease transportation issues in the prison system.

He said, "We are procuring 116 vehicles which will cost N1,584,064,560. You'll agree with me that because of lack of logistics, the vehicles, that has contributed in the past and even now we're still not having enough vehicles that'll be able to take inmates and those awaiting trials to court.

"There are over 5,000 courts distributed that on daily basis, about 240 prisons will have to convey these awaiting trial inmates to the courts. If there are no vehicles, then it becomes a problem and justice delayed is justice denied."

FEC approves N3.9bn for fire trucks, N7.1bn for NIS tech building

The minister also revealed that the FEC also approved N3.9 billion for the procurement of fire-fighting trucks, water tankers and "other related vehicles" as part of the government's security sector reform efforts.

"The government is doing everything possible to ensure that the fire incidents are contained and also controlled," he said.

The minister also disclosed that the FEC approved a memorandum for the construction of a technology building for the the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS). He described the building as a data command control and communication centre that'll cost the sum of N7.1 billion.

He disclosed that construction company, Julius Berger, has been cleared to construct the building which he said will help the NIS and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to enhance internal security.