Senators alarmed, as dogs are better fed than inmates NCS facilities 

Senators expressed alarm yesterday, when they were informed that the daily feeding allowance of Nigerian prison inmates is still N750.

However, it was gathered that a dog kept by the Nigerian Correctional Service is fed with the sum of N800 daily, an indication that the Service spends more to feed a dog than to feed an inmate.

This was disclosed when the Comptroller-General of Corrections, Haliru Baba, and other top officials appeared before the Senate Committee on Interior in Abuja to defend the 2024 budget estimates of the Service.

The committee, which is chaired by Sen. Adams Oshiomhole, sought answers as senators reviewed the performance of the 2023 budget of the service.

Responding to questions, the CG said there were a total of 81,358 prison inmates in the country, out of which 53,668 were awaiting trial.

According to him, each prisoner has a budget of N250 per meal, which tallies at N750 when fed three times a day. This puts the daily feeding budget of the 81,358 inmates at N61,018,500. On the other hand, the Service spends N800 to feed one dog per day and keeps over 900 dogs in custodial centres across the country. The daily budget for feeding 900 dogs is around N720,000.

Probing into the submissions, senators wondered how a human being in today’s Nigeria would survive on N750 per day.

Leading the questioning, Oshiomhole asked for a breakdown of the ingredients for the N750 food served to the inmates.

He noted that one vital piece of information the committee had deduced from the submissions so far was that “an unconvicted Nigerian is fed with N750 per day, while a dog is fed with N800 per day.”

Oshiomhole added, “So, a dog is better fed in a Nigerian prison than an innocent Nigerian who has not been convicted. They are just suspects. It hurts if this is the way they are treated. We must be seen to care for Nigerians, including those who are criminals or awaiting trial.”

When asked what amount of money he considered adequate to feed a prisoner per day, the CG said, “N3,000.” He told the committee that a recommendation on the N3,000 had been made to the Ministry of Interior but was still awaiting the approval of the ministry.

Incidentally, former Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, had said the Federal Government spent N1.065 million to feed an inmate per year. He gave the figure during the inauguration of a 20-bed COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund Hospital and Equipment at the Maximum-Security Custodial Centre in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

This was contained in a statement by his media adviser, Sola Fasure, in Abuja last May.

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