The Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) said it has obtained waiver from the Federal Government to employ 6,545 staff members in different cadre of the service.
Comptroller General (CG), NPS, Jaffaru Ahmed, made the disclosure on Monday in Abuja during the 2017 budget defence in the House of Representatives.
Ahmed explained that the service had inadequate personnel, which prompted the waiver for employment, saying that N6 billion was earmarked for the recruitment in 2017 budget.
On the 2017 budget, the CG said that N72.3 billion was proposed, out of which N37.5 was earmarked for personnel with N19 billion for overhead and N16 billion for feeding of inmates and dogs.
He said that the service would embark on mechanised agriculture to enable prisoners produce enough food to feed themselves, saying that this would reduce high financial burden laid on the Federal Government.
According to him, the service spends over N16 billon each year to feed about 72,000 inmates in the country.
Ahmed added that in 2016 fiscal year, the NPS had an outstanding of N5 billion owed contractors for the feeding of prisoners.
“We intend to set up specialised farm centres to train prisoners towards boosting food production and make prisoners able to feed themselves.”
He stated that although prison was not a revenue generating agency, yet the service was able to generate about N40.1 million in 2016 which had been paid into the national treasury.
Ahmed said that the service was not allowed to retain any of its revenue unless it was generated from the Prison Industry or workshop, where the inmates were directly involved.
The CG also disclosed that about 27,992 work force of the service could not be paid their salary as when due in 2016.
He explained that only N27.9 billion was released out of N34.9 billion proposed for personnel.
He added that additional N3.9 billion intervention fund was later released by the Ministry of Finance.
The CG said that out of N14 billion appropriated for 2016 Capital expenditure, N3.6 billion was released as the service purchased only 117 vehicles out of 350 proposed.
He reiterated the need to relocate prisons from urban centres, adding that massive rehabilitation was urgently needed in most of the prisons to avoid jail breaks.
According to him, out of 241 prisons in the country, about 200 were constructed in the colonial days, dating back to 1896 and about 139 sandwiched in the metropolis.
“There is need to relocate some prisons from urban centres because there is no room for expansion and some of them are over 100 years old,” Ahmed said.
After the CG’s presentation, the Chairman, House Committee on Interior, Rep. Jagaba Jagaba, therefore, called for an executive session with the management of NPS.