The Acting Comptroller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), Idris Isa, suggested in the 2022 budget estimates that prisoners in Nigeria be entitled to N1,000 per day for daily food.
When the leadership of the NCS came before the Senate Committee on Interior, led by Senator Kashim Shettima (APC Borno Central), to defend the Service’s 2022 budget forecasts, the committee reached the decision.
The NCS boss had previously stated that the present N450 daily feeding stipend for inmates was insufficient to manage correctional centres across the country, adding that 47, 959 of the 66,346 inmates in NCS centers across the country are awaiting trial.
He also revealed that the population had clogged most of the facilities, causing them to fall short of international penitentiary standards.
Senator Kashim Shettima (APC Borno Central), the Committee Chairman, spoke out against the N750 daily meal expense requested for the detainee in front of the other members of the panel.
Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North) echoed Senator Shettima’s argument, claiming that the recommended N750 by the Acting Comptroller General is insufficient in light of the present value of the naira and the country’s high living expenditures.
“Mr Chairman, I will encourage this committee to increase the recommended N750 per day feeding expense for each inmate at the custodian centres to at least N1,000.00 because no grown-up Nigerian today can survive on N750 per day in terms of feeding,” he added.
Senator Betty Apiafi (PDP Rivers West), seconding the motion, said the N1,000 recommended should be the bare minimum and must be included in the final budget for the correctional service to be passed.
As a result, the Committee Chairman ruled in favor of the motion by striking the gavel on the table, promising to discuss the committee’s decision with Senate leadership.
“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 asked the committee to have an interface with the CJN and NBA for a way out.
Senator Betty Apiafi suggested 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 jail break.
This is as the committee planned to meet the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed, the Nigerian Bar Association ( NBA ) and other stakeholders on expeditious justice delivery in decongesting the nation’s prisons.