The Nigerian Prisons Service owes food contractors over N5.9billion for supplies made to feed 72,000 inmates across the country.
The Comptroller-General of Prisons, Mr. Jafaru Ahmed, who disclosed this in Abuja on Monday, also said that a feeding budget of N19.8bn proposed in the 2017 budget would still be inadequate to cover the cost of food for prisoners.
Ahmed, who appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Interior to defend the service’s 2017 budget, also said the personnel were overstretched.
He spoke of a plan to recruit additional 6,545 warders to beef up security and provide services around 241 prison facilities.
He told the committee, which is chaired by a member from Kaduna State, Mr. Adams Jagaba, that the new wardens would increase the personnel vote of the NPS by another N6bn.
The NPS’ total budget proposal for 2017 is N72.3bn.
The sum is broken down into N14.9bn for capital projects; N19bn for overhead expenditure; and N37.5bn personnel cost.
But, Ahmed informed the lawmakers that an outstanding balance of N10.8bn had yet to be released to the service for its 2016 capital vote.
He added that out of the nearly 320 operational vehicles that the service required for urgent services, only 117 were purchased in 2016.
“Kuje Prisons has only two operational vehicles.
“This is a big facility and we can imagine the number of inmates there.
“So, clearly we have to buy more vehicles this year”, he added.