The Nigerian Prison Service (NPS) has disclosed that over 68,000 inmates are being held in prison facilities through the country as at March 2017.
The Controller General of Nigerian Prison Service, Jaafaru Ahmed, who made the disclosure in an interview with the Economic Confidential, said that the agency had reopened prison farm centres towards self-sufficiency in food production.
Amed said “As at March 6, 2017, total inmates population stands at 68,259. Out of this number, 46,351 are awaiting trial persons, and the remaining 21,903 are convicted.
“In terms of percentage, the convicted is 32 percent, while awaiting trial persons is 68 percent. Though the figures are not static as they go up and down.”
He also disclosed that the Prison Service had commenced the rehabilitation of its various farming centers with the purchase of twenty-two tractors that would lead the service to specialize in food productions enough to feed the inmates and for sale to the general public.
“In 2016 budget we purchased so many farm machineries like tractors and other kinds of implements. We have also dug so many boreholes, fish-farming and the rest of them. These would be used to reposition our farm centers.
“What we intend to do when the budget for 2017 is passed is that we have picked three (3) out of fourteen farm centres. The idea is to make sure that we specialize in different farming processes. Like Kujama, we intend to set it up strictly for the production of maize.
“We want to see the production of maize all year round, not only during the raining season but also during the dry season. We have budgeted some amount of money to sink boreholes for irrigation purposes to ensure the success of these programmes.
“We have picked Lampushi farm center strictly for rice production and the possibility of producing rice during both raining season and dry season. We have also taken Ozalla for the production of palm oil. These are three pilot projects we intend to do this year to see the possibility of whether the prison can actually feed itself”, he said.
Ahmed further canvassed for genuine collaboration among the three arms of the criminal justice system to enhance synergy so that the case of anybody brought to prison as awaiting trial will be determined as quickly as possible.