Startling revelations have emerged that the federal government allocates more funds for the daily feeding of security dogs than for inmates in Nigerian prisons, according to the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS).
The Controller-General of the NCS, Haliru Nababa, disclosed this during a joint National Assembly Committee on Interior hearing, expressing concern over the inadequacy of the budget allocated for inmate meals.
Nababa informed the committee that he had written to the Minister of Interior, requesting a review of the daily feeding budget for inmates from N750 to N3,000. However, the awaited approval has not materialized, prompting the NCS to seek assistance from the National Assembly for the much-needed increment.
“We have made provision for the feeding of inmates, dogs, and staff on training in six training institutions across the country. The money is grossly inadequate,” stated Nababa. The Controller-General highlighted that the total number of inmates nationwide in 2023 is 81,354, with 53,352 awaiting trial.
Senator Adams Oshiomhole, the committee chairman, expressed concern about the disparity in feeding allocations, emphasizing the importance of humane treatment for individuals in correctional facilities. He questioned the logic of spending more on dogs’ meals than on innocent Nigerians in custody.
“How can you look us eye to eye and tell us that you feed a grown-up man in Nigeria with N750 a day? One thing has come out is that a non-convicted Nigerian is being fed with N750, and you feed each of the dogs under your care with N800 per day. So, a dog is better fed in the Nigerian prison than an innocent Nigerian in your custody,” remarked Oshiomhole.
The CG clarified that the daily feeding allowance of N750 would be reduced to N720 after the deduction of VAT and tax. When asked for the breakdown of the menu served to prisoners for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the NCS team stated that they possessed the menu chart, but the quantity of food and ingredients needed for each meal were not readily available.
Oshiomhole expressed skepticism about the adequacy of the allocated funds, given market prices. “For an innocent Nigerian who is being held in a correctional home, N250 per meal is grossly inadequate. I wonder what you are feeding them with. They are obviously underfed,” he remarked.
The revelations have sparked concerns among lawmakers, raising questions about the government’s priorities in allocating resources for the welfare of inmates in correctional facilities.