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FG to spend whopping N22.4bn to feed 75, 507 prison inmates

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The Federal Government on Thursday disclosed that it has budgeted about N22.4 billion for the feeding of 75,607 inmates across all correctional centres nationwide.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Dr. Shuaib Belgore, made this known during a two-day Hhgh-level conference on corrections and decongestion of custodial centres in Abuja on Thursday.

Belgore, who hinted that the funds required is already budgeted for in the 2023 Appropriation Act, claimed that the trajectory of the population in the correctional centres has hit all time high with at least 80 percent of the inmates awaiting trial.

Belgore said: “The Federal Government budgeted N22.44 billion in the 2023 appropriation to cater for the feeding of inmates. Failure to take action to decongest the custodial centres will come at a cost.”

He also raised concerns over the overpopulation of the correctional centres which is taking a toll on the revenue of the Federal Government.

“The effects of overcrowding in the custodial centres have led to huge revenue drain for the Federal Government.

“Dilapidation of the centres, criminalisation of the society and the inability to separate awaiting trial inmates from convicted persons,” Belgore said.

Belgore also gave statistical breakdown of the gender distribution of inmates across the country.

“The total number of male inmates are 73,821 and 1,686 are female inmates. Out of the 75,507 inmates, 52,436 are awaiting trial while 23,071 are convicted persons, with 3,322 as condemned inmates on death row.

“I am of the view that the discourse at this conference should allocate more time to address speedy dispensation of justice to reduce number of inmates on awaiting trial.

“In as much as the Ministry of Interior works tirelessly to accomplish the goal of achieving greater reduction of number of inmates across our custodial centres, we are determined to ensure that the correctional facilities provide not just a decent accommodation,” the permanent secretary said.

“We also ensure that inmates acquire skills and knowledge to advance their integration into the society when they eventually regain freedom.”

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