PRISON SERVICES: “We Spend 1million Naira Annually on Each Inmate” – Interior Minister; Rauf Aregbesola
In a recent statement by Sola Fasure, Media Adviser to the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, it was disclosed that the Nigerian Federal Government spends N1 million annually on each inmate in the country’s correctional facilities. The Minister made this known during the inauguration of a 20-bed COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund Hospital and Equipment at the Maximum Security Custodial Centre in Port Harcourt.Aregbesola emphasized that the new project would leave a lasting legacy and attest to the Federal Government’s commitment to the welfare of inmates and staff. He also stated that the present administration had addressed the issue of inmates contracting diseases like scabies and tuberculosis in custodial centres.The Minister expressed his concerns about the enormous challenges of running correctional services, which require significant investments in infrastructure, equipment, and maintaining the welfare of inmates. He, however, reassured Nigerians that the government had provided long-term solutions to these challenges.Aregbesola revealed that the centre in Port Harcourt, which has a capacity for 1,800 inmates, currently houses over 3,067 inmates, reflecting the situation in most urban custodial centres, where there is congestion. The Minister also highlighted the Federal Government’s plan to construct mega 3,000-capacity custodial villages in six geo-political zones of the country, with one already in progress in Bori, Rivers State.Furthermore, Aregbesola reiterated that the Federal Government would stop feeding inmates incarcerated for breaching state laws. He urged the states to include feeding of their inmates in their budget processes for next year.In conclusion, the Minister commended the management and staff of the Nigerian Correctional Service for their efforts in keeping the virus away, and he believes that the new hospital would go a long way in addressing the medical concerns of inmates and correctional service personnel. He stated that the beauty of all the interventions in consonance with other reforms in the NCoS would translate to security, peace, and tranquility in and around the centres, and ultimately, the entire country.