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RipplesMetric: Nigeria’s growing prison inmate statistic overshadows budget



In December, the Nigeria Correctional Service Controller General, Haliru Nababa, said that N750 was spent daily to feed inmates. This became controversial when compared to the N800 spent daily to feed the 900 security dogs at prisons.

Nababa said, “The NCS has written to the Minister of Interior requesting a review of the amount we are using to feed the inmates from N750 to N3,000 per day. We are still waiting for approval. We are therefore seeking the assistance of the National Assembly to approve the increment.”

The Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Interior, under the leadership of Adams Oshiomhole, said that while it is unexpected for the NCS to feed inmates three times a day due to the high cost of living, the amount is an appreciation issue.

Aside from this, Nigerian prisons have been marred with several controversies including breakout experienced in some parts of Nigeria. Since 2015, over 9,000 inmates have escaped from about 18 incidents of prison break.

For this report, RippleMetics looked through the number of inmates in Nigeria over the year juxtaposed with the budget of the NCS in the last four years.

As of the time of this report, the latest data by NCS showed that the inmate population by convict and awaiting trial persons is 78,629. This is an increase when compared to 77,849 recorded as of December 18, 2023, and 74,059 reported as of January 1st, 2023.

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The total number of male inmates is 76,840 while female inmates are 1,789. This would mean that for every female in the prison, there are about 44 males in prison. Also, the data showed that 24,423 (31 per cent) of the inmates are convicted while 54,206 inmates are awaiting trials (69 per cent).

In 2023, Nigeria was ranked the 27th country with the highest number of prisons globally according to the World Prison Brief.

Over the months, as the number of inmates grew, the budget allocated to NCS has also increased. In the last four years, N406.21 billion have been approved by the government between 2021 to the recent 2024 budget.

In 2021, NCS had a budget of N84.47 billion; while N92.61 billion and N108.15 billion were allocated respectively in 2022 and 2023. For 2024, the budget of the NCS was N120.97 billion. This is a budget growth of 43.21 per cent in four years.

Findings also showed that the NCS which is under the Ministry of Interior, also has one of the largest share of budget in the ministry’s fiscal year.

In 2021, the Interior Ministry had a total budget of N265.86 billion of which the NCS budget was 31.77 per cent. In 2022 and 2023, the NCS budget was 31.44 per cent and 33.35 per cent of the amount approved for the ministry.

Meanwhile, in 2024, the Interior Ministry got N417.67 billion as budget while the share of the NCS dropped to 25.65 per cent.

By: James Odunayo

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