The Senate Committee Chairman on Interior, Adams Oshiomhole, has criticised the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) over reports of severe inmate emaciation across correctional centres in the country.
The committee, on Thursday, threatened to halt the NCoS’ 2024 budget hearing indefinitely until detailed data on inmate feeding is disclosed.
Oshiomhole criticised the current daily meal allowance of N750 per inmate as inadequate, asking “How many dogs do you have and how much does it cost to feed them daily.”
He spoke when the NCoS Comptroller-General, Haliru Nababa, appeared before the committee to defend the 2024 budget of the NCoS at the National Assembly in Abuja.
“Your organisation has transformed from Nigeria Prison Service to Nigerian Correctional Service but you have yet to change in your attitudes toward inmates.
“It’s not just your fault because the government appropriates little money for you, it is either you don’t feed the inmates 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.
“You all know the price of food items in the market, so how can you look us eye to eye and tell us that you feed a man in Nigeria with N750 a day, how much is a bottle of water,” he said.
He said that the committee would not hurry to approve the budget until it receives a breakdown of the number of inmates and security dogs at the correctional centers and how they are fed daily.
“I would like to see a breakdown of how you feed the inmates. If you say you feed inmates three times a day with N250 each.
“How many dogs do you have and how much does it cost to feed them daily,” he said.
Nababa had said the NCoS has a total of 81,358 inmates nationwide, with 53,362 of them awaiting trial.
“We feed each inmate with N750 daily and they are fed three times daily (N250 for each square meal).
“We have 900 security dogs and to feed a dog each day we spend N800,” he said.