The Senate Committee on Interior has resolved to jerk up the daily feeding cost of a prisoner per day, to N1,000 from N750 proposed by the executive in the 2022 budget.
This is as the committee planned to meet the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed, the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and other stakeholders on expeditious justice delivery in decongesting the nation’s prisons.
The Acting Comptroller General of Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), Mr Idris Isa, had in his presentation before the Committee during 2022 budget defence said that the current N450 feeding cost for each of the Prisoners on daily basis, has been increased to N750 as proposed in the 2022 budget estimates.
According to him, out of the 66,346 total prisoners in correctional centres across the country, 47,959 prisoners are yet to be convicted and are awaiting trial.
He said this development made most of the custodian centres to be congested and fall below the international standard of correctional services.
The Committee Chairman, Senator Kashim Shettima (APC Borno Central) and members frowned at the N750 daily feeding cost proposed for each of the inmates across the custodian centres.
Making the move on behalf of the committee, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North), said N750 going by the value of Naira today and high costs of consumables, is inadequate.
“Mr Chairman, I will urge this committee to jerk up the proposed N750 feeding cost per day on each of the inmates at the custodian centres to at least N1,000.00 because no grown-up Nigeria today can survive with N750 per day as far as feeding is concerned,” he said.
Seconding the motion, Senator Betty Apiafi (PDP Rivers West), said the N1,000 proposed should be the minimum and must be reflected in the final budget to be passed for the correctional service.
The Committee Chairman accordingly ruled in favour of the motion by hitting the gavel on the table to that effect and promised to discuss the committee’s decision with the leadership of the Senate.
“The proposed N1,000.00 is the minimum and will surely be reflected in the budget to be passed by way of required appropriation,” he said.
On the problem of prison congestion, Senator Utazi moved a motion for the committee to have an interface with the CJN and NBA for a way out.
Senator Betty Apiafi in seconding the motion added that a proper motion should be sponsored on the floor of the Senate by any member of the committee to that effect.
The Chairman in his remarks said legislative action will surely be taken in that direction for required synergy among arms of government.
The committee also stressed the need for renovation of correctional centres across the country to reduce incessant cases of jailbreak.