Article summary

  • The Minister of Interior said the government spends N1 million every year to take care of each inmate in the custodial centres spread across the country.
  • He said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had also, to a large extent, addressed the problem of inmates contracting diseases in custodial centres.

The Federal Government has said it spends N1 million annually to cater to each of the inmates at the correctional facilities in the country. Sola Fasure, the Media Adviser to the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, disclosed this in a statement released on Saturday.

According to the statement, the minister said this while inaugurating a 20-bed COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund Hospital and Equipment at the Maximum-Security Custodial Centre, Port Harcourt.

The minister said that the project would be an enduring legacy and a testimony of the utmost importance the Federal Government had so far taken corrections, the welfare of inmates as well as the staff.

Aregbesola added that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had, to a large extent, addressed the problem of inmates contracting diseases in custodial centres.

Tackling diseases at custodial centres

  • While noting that the custodial centres were frighteningly centres for contracting diseases like scabies and tuberculosis, among others., the Minister said:
  • “Happily, this has been addressed by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration and is now a thing of the past. “We not only have well-manned clinics and well-stocked pharmacies, the inmates at the custodial centres now have access to excellent medical care beyond the centres.”

The minister also decried the enormous challenges of running correctional services with huge demands for infrastructure, equipment, and maintaining the welfare of inmates. He, however, assured that the Federal Government had provided a long-term solution to the challenges.

  • “This centre in Port Harcourt, with a capacity for 1,800 inmates, presently houses about 3,067 inmates. This is just a reflection of the situation in most urban custodial centres where we have congestion at the moment.
  • “The facilities and even the personnel are overstretched, but we are coping and providing long-term solutions to this challenge.
  • “One such solution is the construction of mega 3,000-capacity custodial villages in six geo-political zones of the country. The one for the South-South is in Bori, not far from here in Rivers.
  • “The ones for the North-West in Janguza, Kano, and the North-Central, in Karshi, Abuja, are ready. Hopefully, we shall inaugurate the one in Kano in a few days, before our departure. “Even work is steadily going on in the others and has reached an appreciable 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,” he said.

Aregbesola said that he did not doubt that the facility would go a long way in addressing the medical concerns of inmates and correctional service personnel. The minister commended the management and staff of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) for working hard to keep the virus away. He added that the new hospital was an intervention aimed at making robust healthcare for those in custody and the NCoS staff.

Last week, Permanent Secretary, of the Ministry of Interior, Dr. Shuaib Belgore, disclosed that Federal Government would spend the sum of N22.44 billion in 2023 on the feeding of 75,507 inmates in correctional centres nationwide. According to him, the inmates are spread in 244 custodial centres nationwide.