The Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) has revealed that security dogs receive better nutrition than inmates in prison, according to the Controller-General, Haliru Nababa.
Speaking during a joint hearing of the National Assembly Committee on Interior, Nababa disclosed that he has requested a review of the daily feeding budget for inmates from N750 to N3,000. Despite the request, approval is still pending as they await the minister of interior’s response.
“We are therefore seeking the assistance of the National Assembly to approve the increment.
“We have made provision for the feeding of inmates, dogs and staff on training in six training institutions across the country. The money is grossly inadequate,” the NCS boss said.
According to him, the total number of the inmates in 2023 is 81,354 nationwide while 53,352 are awaiting trial.
Senator Adams Oshiomhole, who is the chairman of the committee asked the NCS team how much it costs them to buy the quantity of the foodstuff and ingredients needed to prepare the meal of a prisoner.
Oshiomhole said, “This is a very important assignment. A lot of Nigerians under your care are innocent. They are in prisons, courtesy of big men and women who want to teach them a lesson. Many of them are there on an offence they knew nothing about. However, the system has put them under your care.
“Somebody said if Mandela was in a Nigerian prison for 27 years, he would have lost his sanity by the time he was released to govern South Africa.
“Our prisons are meant to correct the behaviours of the people. They are not condemnation centres. They are not to dehumanise.
“How can you look us eye to eye and tell us that you feed a grown-up man in Nigeria with N750 a day?
“One thing has come out is that non-convicted Nigerian is being fed with N750 and you feed each of the dogs under your care with N800 per day.
“So, a dog is better fed in the Nigerian prison than an innocent Nigerian in your custody.
“It is a policy issue. We don’t know the intention of government to appropriate money to feed animals than to feed human beings. It is a major policy issue for us,” he added.
“The budget for feeding each of them per day of N751 per day at N250 per meal, per inmate,” the CG said, explaining that the feeding allowance per day would be reduced to N720 after the deduction of VAT and tax.
When the joint panel demanded for the breakdown of the menu being served the prisoners as breakfast, lunch and dinner, the CG and his team said they have the menu of what the prisoners should eat as breakfast, lunch and dinner based on the locality they are being remanded. The CG however said they were not with the menu chart, adding that the quantity of the food and the ingredients needed to prepare it are contained in the chart.
Oshiomhole, wondered how the authorities of the NCS manage to feed the inmates with such paltry sum going by the market price.
The NCS boss said 53,352 or more are not convicted yet, they are awaiting trial.
“They are not guilty of any offence known to law. They are innocent under our laws. For an innocent Nigerian who is being held in a correctional home N250 per meal is grossly inadequate. I wonder what you are feeding them with. They are obviously underfed,” he said.