FG to stop feeding state inmates in 2024

THE Federal government will stop feeding state offenders in correctional centres nationwide from January 1, 2024.

The minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, disclosed this at a Correctional Service in Owerri on Friday, May 12, according to a statement issued by his spokesman, Sola Fure.

Aregbesola said state governments would be providing food for inmates in correctional centres located in their states from 2024, as 90 per cent of inmates in the country are state offenders.

He asked state governments to include the feeding of their inmates in federal facilities in their budgets, and to start building state-owned custodial centres.

“The Federal Government will stop feeding state inmates by December 31, 2023. Furthermore, by January 1, 2024, the Federal Government will stop feeding state inmates kept in federal facilities. State governments must now start budgeting for feeding their inmates in federal facilities, while we wait for them to build their facilities,” he said.

The minister urged state governments to optimise the recently signed constitutional amendment and improve the condition of inmates in custodial facilities nationwide.

“It is also hoped that state governments will take advantage of the constitutional amendment recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, which makes corrections a concurrent affair. It is on record that more than 90 per cent of inmates in our facilities are state offenders. It is important, therefore, that state governments begin to invest in corrections,” he added.

The ICIR reported that the Federal government approved N22.44 billion in 2023 to feed prison inmates.

The approved sum for feeding inmates is over 1 per cent of the 2023 budget, which is 21.83 trillion, much of which will be funded by international loans.

The permanent secretary, ministry of Interior, Shuaib Belgore, blamed the huge amount partly on the increasing number of inmates in custodial facilities nationwide.

Aregbesola said prisons nationwide were congested due to the high population density and complex human relations.

He said the high population had led to a higher crime rate.

“One big challenge we have at Corrections is congestion, especially in urban centres where the population density is high and human relations are more complex, leading to higher crime rates and the need to keep some people behind bars.






     

     

    “But we are addressing this challenge with the construction of six mega custodial centres in the six geopolitical zones of the country. The ones in Kano and Abuja are ready, and with regular funding the remaining will be completed,” he added.

    About 52,436 inmates are awaiting trial; this is 80 per cent of the total number of inmates across the country.

    Correctional facilities hold 37 per cent more inmates than they were designed to do, as per data from Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS).

    The data showed that facilities in all the geopolitical zones are either overcrowded or almost at full capacity, except for three states in the North-East.

    Beloved John is an investigative reporter with International Centre for Investigative Reporting.

    You can reach her via: [email protected]

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