How Dogs Are Better Fed than Prisoners In Nigeria

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How Dogs Are Better Fed than Prisoners In Nigeria

In a recent joint session for the 2024 budget defense, the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) found itself under intense scrutiny as lawmakers expressed deep concern over the apparent disparities in budget allocations and the perceived dehumanizing conditions within correctional facilities. The Chairman of the Committee on Interior, former Edo State Governor Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, led the charge, demanding satisfactory answers and transparency from the NCS.

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Oshiomhole raised eyebrows when he pointed out that the NCS spends N800 daily to feed each of its 900 security dogs, while only allocating N750 for each of the over 81,000 inmates in prisons across the country. This revelation led to a heated exchange during the budget defense session, where Oshiomhole expressed his surprise at the stark contrast in resource allocation.

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During the session, Comptroller General Haliru Nababa revealed that the NCS had requested an increase in the daily feeding cost for inmates, proposing a review to N3,000 per day. He explained that the current budget of N750 per day per inmate was grossly inadequate, considering the rising costs of food items in the market. Nababa acknowledged the challenges faced by the NCS, emphasizing that they had submitted the proposal to the Minister of Interior.

Despite this plea for an increase in funding, Oshiomhole remained dissatisfied, stressing that the correctional system was meant to correct behaviors and not dehumanize inmates. He questioned the feasibility of feeding inmates adequately with the allocated amount and demanded a breakdown of the costs associated with feeding both inmates and security dogs.

Oshiomhole’s concerns extended beyond the budgetary discrepancies. He highlighted the plight of over 53,000 inmates awaiting trial, emphasizing that many of them were innocent and detained due to the influence of powerful individuals seeking to “teach them a lesson.” Drawing parallels to Nelson Mandela, Oshiomhole expressed worries about the impact of prolonged incarceration on the mental well-being of inmates.

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The chairman emphasized the importance of humane treatment within correctional facilities, stating, “Our prisons are meant to correct the behaviors of the people. They are not condemnation centers. They are not to dehumanize.” He called for a thorough review of the correctional system’s budget and a transparent breakdown of expenses related to inmate welfare.

In response to Senator Ireti Kingibe’s query about medical and veterinary care within the correctional facilities, Nababa revealed that the NCS has 75 medical doctors and consultants, along with 6 veterinary doctors. These professionals cover various regions, including Lagos, Kaduna, and Owerri, with some overseeing more than one state. Nababa assured lawmakers that the veterinary doctors are supported by a team of nurses.

Despite this response, concerns lingered about the apparent delay and lack of immediate information from the NCS team, raising questions about transparency and the need for accurate and readily available data on the conditions and care provided within correctional facilities.

 

Lawmakers present at the joint sitting, including Rep. Adebayo Balogun, Francis Fadahunsi, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, Ezenwa Onyewuchi, Ireti Kingibe, Abdulaziz Yari, among others, actively participated in the discussions. The exchange highlighted the ongoing discussions about the state of Nigerian prisons and the measures necessary to ensure the well-being of inmates and animals under the care of the Correctional Service.

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As the budget defense session unfolds, the Nigerian Correctional Service faces increasing pressure to address the concerns raised by lawmakers. The call for transparency, accountability, and a comprehensive review of the correctional system’s budget underscores the importance of prioritizing inmate welfare and rehabilitation within the criminal justice system. The outcome of these discussions will play a pivotal role in shaping the future direction of prison reforms in Nigeria.

How Dogs Are Better Fed than Prisoners In Nigeria

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