Senate frowns at N100 per meal for prisoners

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The senate has condemned in strong terms, the N300 budget to feed prisoners each day, saying that the amount was too paltry to feed any human being.

The Senate’s Committee on Interior, during the 2018 budget defense of the Interior Ministry, said that it was grossly unfair for N100 to be budget per meal for prisoners.

Chairman of the committee, Sen. Andy Uba said that prisoners were also human beings who must be treated as such adding that part of the role of prisons was to reform.

He said that reformation could not be achieved when the prisoners are hungry and malnourished adding that the revelation of the budget goes a long way to explain why Nigerian prisoners always looked malnourished.

Earlier the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Prisons Service, Ahmed Ja’afaru told lawmakers that N17 billion was allocated annually for feeding of prisoners.

He said that the amount was shared among the 244 prisons in Nigeria according to their population adding that N300 goes for the meal while 150 is budgeted for the cooking of each prisoners food per day.

Reacting to the breakdown, a member of the committee expressed disgust at the allocation stressing that he had taken up the issue so many times in the past.

He said that “the treatment given to the prison inmates “would make them gradually become a menace” when they are eventually released into the society.

“In 2015, I told the former CG about this because I over see also the human rights and we go to prisons and we see these things ourselves. I raised this issue of prison food ration. It is a serious issue that I think if you get it right; it would help a whole lot of things.

“450 for one day? For an adult? Mr. Chairman, this is outrageous. This is unacceptable, unthinkable and unheard of, this committee will not be a party to this kind of budget.

It is totally embarrassing that adults that you send to the prison, they have 300 meals. Is it for a baby?

“I feel that we are getting it wrong. That is part of the problem we are having in the country. You send people to go and be reformed, they come out hardened and they become a menace t our society.”

He called on the Committee chairman to take it up with other committees of the senate as well as relevant agencies to ensure that the budget improves.

Utazi said that for a long time prisoners had been surviving on the benevolence of philanthropic organisations and NGOs.

He proposed that the budget be totally reviewed to reflect N500 per meal for each prisoner and N1,500 per day.

Chairman of the Committee, Andy Uba therefore asked the interior ministry and the prison comptroller to submit all relevant budget document for the committee to  begin work.