Nigeria’s Prison population of 65, 000 inmates are currently under the threat of starvation following the non-payment of ration and gas suppliers since 2015.
Blueprint learnt that the federal government has been owing contractors more than N6 billion since 2015.
Speaking with newsmen on Friday in Abuja, one of the suppliers, Hajia Maimunat Usman, who lamented her experience, blamed the federal ministry of finance for holding on to the money, urging President Muhammadu Buhari for immediate action.
“The Prisons Service is plagued with inadequate infrastructure, degrading facilities and most especially the failure and negligence of the appropriate authority to pay the contractors who are given the mandate to provide food to prisoners.
“The contractors are still being owed 2015 and 2016 outstanding payments for the supply of food to the prisons. Several efforts to get the Ministry of Finance to remit the outstanding payments have been futile”, she said.
According to her, while the prison authorities had often gone the extra mile of using their personal resources to assist some of the inmates, it behoves the paying authorities to do the needful.
She said some of the suppliers are now down with various ailments due to persistent harassment from banks as they have not been able to repay bank loans.
The Nigeria Prison Service Ration and Gas Contractors had in 2015 written the President, demanding for the payment of over N6 billion outstanding obligation.
They had noted that if inmates of the nation’s prisons were not fed for two days, they could go haywire and the consequences could be devastating to the cause of national security.
“We do not want any national embarrassment for Mr. President and his new government”, they had stated.