Nigeria spends N33,878,700 daily to feed 75,286 inmates – NPS
By Steve Oko
The Federal Government spends a whopping N33,878,700 to feed 75,285 inmates in the various prison cells across the country.
This was disclosed by the Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Prisons Service, Abia State Command, Mr. Ikpe Linus Kalu during a workshop in Umuahia.
He said contrary to the perception in some quarters, prison inmates feed three times a day, adding that the three square meal costs N450 per inmate a day.
Kalu also dispelled the notion that prison staff eat the food meant for inmates.
On the number of inmates in prison custody, he said that “as at Friday, April 26, 2019” there were no fewer than 75,285 inmates in the various prison cells in the country.
According to him, 73,786 inmates are males while only 1500 are females.
Wawa News Global reports that the theme of the workshop organised by Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action, PRAWA was :”Decriminalization and Declassification of Petty Offenses Project “.
The Prisons Spokesman further disclosed that Abia has 1600 inmates comprising 990 in Umuahia , 546 in Aba and 54 in Arochukwu.
He identified congestion as the major challenge of the Nigerian prisons but noted that significant improvement had been recorded under the present administration.
Kalu said a number of prison yards had witnessed a major facelift since 2016 courtesy of the current administration.
According to him 219 escort vehicles have been distributed to prisons for conveying inmates to and fro courts.
He said the female cell in Aba had been renovated and facilities in the yard upgraded .
He appealed to members of the public to stop stigmatising ex -offenders (ex-convicts) but help re-integrate them into society so they might not return to the warm embrace of their partners in crime.
Kalu also appealed to members of the public to change their hostility towards prison “to sympathy , and apathy to interest.”
In her remarks the CEO of PRAWA, (organisers of the workshop), Dr. Uju Agomouo expressed concern over delays in criminal justice administration.
She decried lack of investigative policing and forensic evedience, saying it is not fair to depend on mere confessional statements and cram inmates into prisons.
She also frowned at the unnecessary delays in criminal prosecution, saying such delays contribute in prison congestion.
Agonmuo advocated alternative way of handling those arrested for petty offenses than sending them to prison as this could be counter productive.
She noted that when such offenders mingle with hardened criminals in prison custody they could be hardened.
Agomuo called on the media as the conscience and watchdog of society to put government on its toes to ensure adequate attention is given to the criminal justice system.