A civic organisation, Vanguard For Truth Foundation, has raised the alarm that inmates at various custodial centres (prisons) in Nigeria are fed with N200 daily against the N750 provided by the government.
The group in a statement on Thursday, decried the high level of corruption among officials of the Nigerian Correctional Service with various middlemen employed to get kickbacks.
NAIJA LIVE TV reported on December 7, that the NCoS had revealed that the federal government spent N800 daily on each of its dogs while it fed an inmate with N750 daily.
The Controller General of NCoS, Haliru Nababa, who made the revelation when he appeared before the National Assembly Committee on Interior to defend the 2024 budget, explained that the “budget for feeding each of them per day is N750 at N250 per meal, per inmate”.
“The Nigerian Correctional Service has written the Minister of Interior requesting for the review of the amount we are using to feed the inmates from N750 per day to N3,000 per day. We are still waiting for the approval,” he said.
However, in a statement on Thursday, titled: “Danger Looms As Nigerian Inmates Are Fed With N200 Daily In Reality,” the Vanguard For Truth Foundation said that the N750 daily feeding allowance for each inmate is only on paper.
In the statement signed by its Director General, Alhaji Yussuf Ibrahim, the foundation explained that its investigation following Nababa’s revelation revealed how the NCoS issues out monthly feeding award letters to various companies who have successfully bid either through a politician or the influence of a high ranked officer of the Service for the monthly feeding of inmates.
The foundation explained that “all these companies will then sell these contracts and remove 28% from the rate per inmate making a profit of #210 on each inmate and then sell the contract to a cabal (NACO) and one other company who will then buy it at 72% which amounts to #540 per inmate.
“It will interest Nigerians to note that the above cabals are not the final bus stop. The cabal who are being referred to as contractors will then approach the heads of each custodial centers and release just 64.9% (#350) out of the remaining #540 to the various In-Charges of Custodial Centers in Nigeria and then take the contract award letter to the Controllers to sign that they have truly received the official amount which they never saw.
“The In-Charges, Controllers and their ACGs (Zonal Coordinators) are also culpable because they also don’t feed inmates with the same amount. The In-Charges of various custodial centers will also ‘settle’ the controllers and their ACGs.”
The group, however, challenged NCoS to invite the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ministry of Interior, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to demand from the contractors and their various in-charges to provide some information if it doubts its findings.
It said such agencies should be asked to demand: “Award letters for feeding to various custodial Centres and then compare with those who eventually make the payment to the In-Charges or procure the food items on daily basis to inmates backed up with a statement of account;
“The 3-year bank statement of the main contractors to see if there are reflections where they ever bought any food items;
“Invoices, receipts and bank statements are for the procurement of inmates’ food for the past 1 year or even 10 years;
“Bank transactions receipts by contractors on the monthly feeding for the procurement of various food materials.”
It also urged NCoS to “come up with an audit report with audit evidence and receipts of food items being procured and backed up with bank statements of the contractors on the feeding of just 50 custodial centers at random for instance.”
The group further said, “We also found out that just recently, about a month ago, the Honourable Minister of Interior and the Controller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service just recently sent delegates to commission a laudable Zonal Bakery Project in Benin as a back-up of the Minister’s intention to make inmates to produce the food they consume and also be trained in the act of bread production as a form of reformation for the inmates.
“We found out that the bakery is set for massive production of bread supplies to inmates in the five states of the Zone with capacity to produce nothing less than 32,000 loaves of bread daily and have also recruited external staff who are to complement the inmates and production materials and ingredients are already being made available for the massive production in support of the directive of the Honourable Minister of Interior and the Controller General that the bread should be a part of the inmates daily meal which is also being made available in the media from the day of commissioning.
“Contrary to this set objectives, our finding is that the project is currently being frustrated by the In-Charges of various custodial centers, the controllers and their ACG in that particular Zone as they have refused to procure the products from the bakery and have refused to make necessary payments to the bakery ahead of bread purchases as they are realistically the ones procuring what the inmates consume from what is being made available by the fraudulent feeding contractors.
“Currently, an inmate is being fed with just N200 daily meant for breakfast, lunch and dinner because from the remaining N350 being given to the various heads of custodial centers, they will also take N50 for themselves and also use N50 to settle their controllers and ACG.
“This is however one of the reasons they are frustrating the laudable idea of inmates producing what they consume. They do not want anything to happen to the illegal money they are making from the feeding of inmates. If urgent intervention is not done, danger looms as inmates may embark on jailbreak for low-quality feeding.”
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