Senate lambasts correctional service over condition of inmates

Sharon EboesomiDecember 7, 20235 min

The national assembly joint committee flayed officials of the correctional service who fiddled and fidgeted in providing answers to questions

Tunji-Ojo on Nigeria's borders
Minister of Interior

The Senate has lambasted officials of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) over the inhumane conditions of inmates in their custody.

This followed series of questions thrown at the officials by lawmakers during the 2024 budget defence with the National Assembly joint committees on Interior on Thursday, December 7, 2023.

Trouble started when Sen. Adams Oshiomhole (APC, Edo North) requested for a breakdown on the number of inmates and security dogs they have at current and how they are fed on a daily basis.

“I would like to see a breakdown of how you feed these inmates, if you say you feed inmates 3 times a day with N250 each. How many dogs do you have and how much does it cost to feed them daily?”

Responding to these questions, the Comptroller-General of the Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa said, “We have 81,358 inmates of which 53,362 are awaiting trial. We feed each inmate with N750 daily and they are fed 3 times daily (N250 for each square meal). We have 900 security dogs and to feed a dog each day is N800 daily.”

READ ALSO: Foreign prisoners are taking the jobs of Nigerians – Oshiomhole

Senator Ireti Kingibe (LP, FCT) who seemed unsatisfied with this response questioned the welfare of the inmates asking: “How many doctors and veterinary doctors do you have taking care of these inmates and dogs.”

Prior to answering this query, Nababa and his team were seen consulting amongst themselves, giving the impression that they were fishing for the necessary information. Minutes later, he responded saying, “We have 75 Medical doctors and consultants, 6 veterinary doctors who cover Lagos, Kaduna, Owerri and some of them cover more than one state and they move from place to place. The veterinary doctors have different nurses under them.” 

feeding allocation by correctional service

Disappointed with the response, Oshiomhole emphasised that the committee will not be in a hurry to “rubber stamp” or approve any budget for the correctional service until they receive satisfactory answers.

Your name has been changed from prison to correctional, but you are dehumanising. It’s not just your fault because the government appropriates little money for you but it is either that you don’t feed these prisoners or you feed them only once and even at that, very miserable food. This is why they have completely emaciated and some can never live a decent life again even when they did not commit an offence. It is not correct to tell us that you feed prisoners a day with N750, how?

“You all know the prices of these food items in the market, so how can you look us eye to eye and tell us that you feed a man in Nigeria awaiting trial or even committed and offence with N750 a day, how much is a bottle of water,” he questioned.

Nababa, however, pleaded with the lawmakers seated to come to their aid as they have already requested an increase in the feeding amount for the inmates.

We wrote a letter to the President to review 3,000 per day for each inmate. We want this committee to assist us in putting in words for us,” he said.

Other lawmakers present at the joint sitting were Rep. Adebayo Balogun (APC, Lagos),  Senators Francis Fadahunsi (PDP, Osun East), Yahaya Abdullahi (PDP, Kebbi North), and Ezenwa Onyewuchi (LP, Imo East), amongst others.

STAR ALERT: Learn more about Sen. Kingibe’s stewardship journey in the Senate here 

Sharon Eboesomi

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