In a groundbreaking move aimed at enhancing the living conditions and overall welfare of inmates, the Nigerian government has disclosed that it allocates an annual budget of N1 million for each prisoner within the country’s correctional facilities.
Sola Fasure, the Media Adviser to the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, revealed this significant investment during a statement released in Abuja on Saturday, News About Nigeria reports.
Speaking at the inauguration of a state-of-the-art 20-bed COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund Hospital and Equipment at the Maximum Security Custodial Centre in Port Harcourt, Minister Aregbesola emphasized the government’s unwavering commitment to improving the welfare of inmates and the staff, hailing the initiative as an enduring legacy.
“The Federal Government says it spends N1 million annually to cater for each of the inmates at the correctional facilities in the country,” affirmed Sola Fasure, the Media Adviser to the Minister of Interior.
Highlighting the progress made by President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in combating disease outbreaks within the correctional centers, Aregbesola acknowledged the previous alarming rates of diseases like scabies and tuberculosis in these facilities.
However, he proudly declared that the government’s comprehensive measures have successfully addressed these concerns, providing inmates with access to excellent medical care.
“The custodial centers were frighteningly centers for contracting diseases like scabies and tuberculosis, among others. Happily, this has been addressed by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration and is now a thing of the past,” stated Minister Aregbesola.
Addressing the challenges encountered in running the correctional services, Minister Aregbesola assured that the government has devised long-term solutions to tackle these issues head-on.
Notably, he disclosed plans for the construction of mega custodial villages with a capacity of 3,000 inmates in each of the six geo-political zones across the country, aiming to alleviate overcrowding and provide modern facilities.
“One of such solutions is the construction of mega 3,000-capacity custodial villages in six geo-political zones of the country,” affirmed Minister Aregbesola. “The facilities and even the personnel are overstretched, but we are coping and providing long-term solutions to this challenge.”
Furthermore, Minister Aregbesola announced a significant shift in the feeding policy for inmates, with the Federal Government no longer bearing the burden of providing meals for those incarcerated for breaching state laws. Instead, he urged the respective states to incorporate inmate feeding into their budgets, allowing for better resource allocation at the federal level.
“Let me also reiterate that the Federal Government will stop feeding inmates incarcerated for breaching state laws. As you commence your budget process for next year, include feeding of your inmates,” stated Minister Aregbesola.
The inauguration of the 20-bed COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund Hospital and Equipment in Port Harcourt represents a significant milestone in the government’s endeavor to prioritize inmate healthcare.
Minister Aregbesola commended the efforts of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) management and staff in ensuring the safety and well-being of inmates, as well as the broader community.
“The beauty of all the interventions in consonance with other reforms in the NCoS will obviously translate to security, peace, and tranquility in and around the centers and ultimately the entire country,” emphasized Minister Aregbesola.