Re: Nigeria Spends N14, 000 Daily To Feed Prisoners

The news credited to the Honourable Minister of Interior Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Dambazau as saying Nigeria spends N14, 000 daily to feed each prisoner is the height of mischief, news distortion and misinformation which no news platform that worth its name can let go without punishing whoever is responsible for such a spurious story.

That the Minister has suffered alot of mud-slinging as a result of sensational reporting by 'Yellow Journalists' is an understatement, but the worrisome part is the ferocious dimension such an ungodly adventure has taken lately.

At a Town Hall Meeting held in Kaduna State, The Minister of Interior, General AB Dambazau among other things said, Nigeria requires about N10 billion annually to feed Prisoners across the country. His words: ''Our Prisons are congested with close to 70, 000 prison inmates and awaiting trials. Quiet a number of them are there because they cannot pay fines and some of them do not have fair justice. We

require N10 billion every year to feed them!''

But, to the surprise of many Nigerians who watched the

programme on Channels Television, a particular news platform distorted and syndicated the story by saying the Minister

said Nigerian Government is spending N14, 000 daily on each

prisoner. The story went further by saying ''With the

country's estimated prison population of 57, 000, the

government is roughly spending N14, 000 for a three-square

meal of each prisoner per day.''
Since the writer of such a mischievous story has shown that he does not understand simple arithmetic let alone getting his facts together before going public, I have decided to educate him a little on the subject matter.

In last year's budget, the sum of N450 was appropriated for each prison inmate per day; this includes N150 for gas! And there are 65, 000 inmates nationwide.

Now, if you multiply N450 by 65, 000 you will get N29, 250,

000 as the total amount consumed by prisoners everyday. So, to get the yearly cost, you multiply N29, 250, 000 by 365 which is the number of days we have in a year. Now, if you

do this, you will get N10, 676, 250, 000 being the annual amount spent on feeding prisoners.

The Minister also said that government cannot sustain this huge amount spent on feeding prisoners alone. Hence, the Ministry is looking at other options such as the reviving of the moribund prison farms which he ordered their reopening

last year!
Other options the Minister is exploring is reducing the number of prison inmates which those on awaiting trial list alone are about 60-70%. This is a strain on the economy owning to fact that most of them did not get fair trial or proper investigation conducted. This was what actually informed such statement before it was distorted.

Finally, I appeal to all bloggers and other informal media platforms who carried the highly distorted version as against the mainstream media that carried the real version to always cross check their facts before publishing.

Thanks and may God bless Nigeria!
Comrade Edwin Uhara, a Journalist and Public Affairs Commentator

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Articles by Edwin Uhara