The Senate Committee on Interior, on Wednesday, increased the daily feeding allowance of the inmates at the Nigerian Correctional Service from its current N450 per person to a minimum of N1,000 per day.
Officials of the NCS were in the Senate on Wednesday to defend the 2022 budget of the agency.
They proposed an increment of the daily feeding allowance to N750 but the panel which described the amount as grossly inadequate, jerked it up to N1,000 in line with the current economic reality.
The committee pledged to undertake an upward review of inmates’ feeding cost from N450 to N1000 per day.
A member of the committee, Senator Betty Apiafi, moved the motion for the increment and she was collectively supported by all members of the panel.
She argued that the amount was grossly inadequate to feed the inmates.
Apiafi said, “You are dealing with adults. How can they survive with that amount? When you send convicts to prisons, instead of reforming them, they become more hardened because of the way they are treated, particularly food.”
The Chairman assured that the committee would make adequate provisions for the feeding of the inmates.
Also, the panel said it would meet with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, the Nigerian Bar Association and other stakeholders over the decongestion of custodial centres and the situation of awaiting trial inmates.
The chairman of the committee, Senator Kashim Shettima, said there are 66,000 inmates in custodial centres across the country, out of which 47,000 are awaiting trials.
He said the situation has resulted in congestion of the centres nationwide.
The lawmaker added that decongesting the custodial centres has become imperative to make them habitable and truly reform the inmates.
He said, “We have 66,000 inmates in the custodial centres across the country, and that 47,559 of them had not been convicted (awaiting trials).”
He said, “We can really solve this issue with required synergy with all the stakeholders, the judiciary, the legislature and the executive.
“We can easily decongest the prison and make it habitable and a place that will truly reform Nigerians, not to transform them into hardened criminals.”
On the fortification of correctional centres against jailbreak, Shettima said: “This is something we emphasised. There are certain security issues that cannot be discussed in the open. But is it an issue we are squarely addressing.”