The Federal Government has reported that a total of N22.44 billion was spent on feeding the 75,507 prisoners housed in correctional facilities throughout the country.
On Thursday in Abuja, a government representative made this announcement.
The detainees are dispersed among 244 detention facilities nationally, according to Dr. Shuaib Belgore, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, who was speaking at a high-level conference on prisons and the decongestion of detention facilities.
Belgore estimated that 70% of the prisoners were awaiting trial.
He blamed arbitrary arrests, a lack of justice being served, and failure to comply with bail requirements for the large number of people in jail awaiting trial.
The issue, according to the permanent secretary, has caused 82 correctional centers around the nation to become overcrowded.
“There are 1,686 female detainees overall, compared to 73,821 male convicts. 52,436 of the 75,507 prisoners are awaiting trial, 23,071 have been found guilty, and 3,322 are on death row as condemned prisoners.
“To cover the cost of feeding prisoners, the Federal Government earmarked N22.44 billion in the 2023 Budget. There will be a cost if nothing is done to relieve the congestion in the detention facilities.
FG built 9,290.34 km of roads in eight years, according to Fashola.
“Dilapidation of the centers, criminalization of society, and the inability to separate awaiting trial inmates from convicted persons,” he said, adding that the consequences of overcrowding in the correctional facilities have resulted in a significant income loss for the Federal Government.
According to Belgore, the nation’s criminal justice system needs a comprehensive overhaul, including the modernization of detention facilities for effective convict reformation and rehabilitation.
Stakeholders, according to him, have since emphasized the necessity of constructing new facilities and redesigning the bail system.
“I believe that the discussion at this conference needs to spend more time talking about swift justice to lower the number of people in jails awaiting trial.
“While the Ministry of Interior works tirelessly to reduce the number of prisoners in all of our detention facilities, we are committed to making sure that the correctional facilities offer more than just a comfortable place to stay.
Belgore stated, “We also make sure that convicts pick up the information and abilities to assist their integration into society when they ultimately recover freedom.
In order to address the overcrowding of detention facilities and effectively execute non-custodial measures, he said the conference should suggest efficient, effective, and durable alternatives.
The permanent secretary continued by saying that plans for successful prisoner reformation, rehabilitation, and reintegration should be developed.
Belgore said that the meeting should also look at how the federal and state governments influence prisoner correction.
“The statistical disparity between federal and state criminals is astounding and concerning.
“The federal offenders in the correctional facilities are far less than 10%, leaving the majority of over 90% to state offenses,” he said.
According to Belgore, implementing the criminal justice system more effectively and implementing non-custodial measures will assist reduce the overcrowding in the country’s detention facilities.