This is coming as the committee plans to meet the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on expeditious justice delivery in order to decongest the prisons.
The acting comptroller-general of Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), Idris Isa, had in his presentation before the Committee during 2022 budget defence session, said the N450 feeding cost for each of the prison inmates on daily basis had been jerked up to N750 as proposed in the 2022 budget estimates .
According to him, out of the 66,346 total inmates in custodial centres across the country, 47, 959 are awaiting trial.
This, he lamented, made most of the custodian centres to be congested and fall below the international standard of correctional services.
Moved by empathy and compassion, the committee chairman, senator Kashim Shettima ( APC Borno Central) and other members frowned at the N750 daily feeding cost proposed for each of the inmates across the custodial centres.
Moving the motion on behalf of the committee, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North), said N750, going by the current value of Naira and high costs of consumables, was inadequate.
“Mr Chairman, I will urge this committee to jerk up the proposed N750 feeding cost per day on each of the inmates at the custodial centres to at least N1,000.00 because no grown-up Nigeria today can survive with N750 per day as far as feeding is concerned,” he said.
Seconding the motion, Senator Betty Apiafi (PDP Rivers West), said the N1,000 proposed should be the minimum and must be reflected in the final budget to be passed for the correctional service.
The committee chairman accordingly ruled in favour of the motion.
“The proposed N1,000 is the minimum and will surely be reflected in the budget to be passed by way of required appropriation,” he said.
On prison congestion, Senator Utazi moved a motion for the committee to have an interface with the CJN and NBA for a way out.
Betty Apiafi, who seconded the motion, added that a proper motion should be sponsored on the floor of the Senate by any member of the committee to that effect.
The chairman, in his remarks, said legislative action will surely be taken in that direction for required synergy among the arms of government.
“It is very worrisome for the percentage of inmates awaiting trial across the various correctional centres to be 80 per cent while those actually convicted is 20 per cent.
“This committee shall surely meet the CJN, NBA and other stakeholders in justice delivery in the country for lasting solutions to the problem,” he said.