The Federal Government may be considering the option of privatizing Nigerian Prisons, Minister of Interior, Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd) has hinted.
He however pointed out that the only challenge with the proposal is that most prison inmates are not serving their sentences but awaiting trial.
Speaking on a Sunday midnight television programme “Question Time” on Channels TV, Damabazau said:
“Privatization is an option. How we go about doing that is another thing. Outside the country, for instance in the United Kingdom UK, they rely on ‘Prisons Labour’ to do that and it is from prisons labour they do that to recoup their investment.
“Here, 70 per cent of our inmates are awaiting trial and by international law, you cannot engage inmates who are awaiting trial in such labour, but it is still something that we can sit down with those who are interested”
The minister dismissed reports that government was spending N14, 000 to feed each prisoner on a daily basis, but said Nigeria currently spends about N10.6 billion feeding over 65, 000 prisoners yearly.
“It is not sustainable given that we have about 65, 000 to 70,000 prisoners. If you have 65, 000 prisoners, the feeding that was approved by former President Jonathan, you raised the feeding to N450 per day including gas; if you multiply it by 65, 000 prisoners in 365 days, you get roughly N10.6 billion. That was what we met and there was no budgetary provision for that. This was why we said there was need to look into prisons farms so that prisons can feed themselves”