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N30,000 minimum wage lower than the American prisoner daily upkeep – Aregbesola

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While the Nigerian government struggle to fulfil its promise of jacking workers minimum wage to N30,000, it is instructive to note that the American government spend an equivalent of N31,000 on a prisoner daily.

Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola made this starking revelation on Friday during an interface with the Senate and House of Representatives committees on Interior at a budget defence session .
The man stet lamented that an average Nigerian prisoner spend a paltry sum of N730 Daily.

The minister added that daily upkeep spent on a prison inmate in America is even as high as N60,000 daily in some states .
Aregbesola said though the Nigeria economy is smaller than that of America but it is appaling that a prisoner in the United States earn higher for an upkeep than the N30,000 projected as monthly take home for the least paid Nigerian worker.

He said “comparing Nigeria with countries like America , Turkey and even Egypt as illustrated by some of the federal lawmakers will completely demoralised the morale of any concerned citizen but what we are sure of in the Ministry , is that we shall with the limited resources available make the best for the country
” At the Federal Executive Council level when the budget being defended now , was to be planned by way of inputs from various Ministers , I kept quiet after listening to the Minister of Finance on the challenges and constraints facing the Nation’s economy .

” One of such challenges is the paucity of fund which has made the Ministry of Interior unable to pay for forty fire trucks manufactured for the country by Turkey since 18 months ago “, he said .
The minister, however, assured the committee members that the Nigerian Prisons will not be allowed to degenerate to concentration camps in line with the new mantra of correctional service given to it .

“We are engaging the governors because there is no other way to do it than to work with them. We are working with the Ministry of Justice which already have a committee in place for decongestion of prisons.

” We are also planning a meeting with the Nigerian Governors Forum in order to sensitize them on what they should do to make sure that aspect of criminal justice administration is not neglected.
” There will be serious problems if all of us failed to come together to solve it. No sane person will want to administer or be in charge of a concentration camp in this time and age because of the problems faced by those who last operated a concentration camp. No one will in any way be connected with concentration camp. We are all concerned.
“I have said it in general terms but I will be more specific now . We will think out of the box. Nothing can be done by limiting ourselves to what is available but much can be done by being creative , innovative and very prudent in the management of scarce resources”, he explained .

Reacting to Aregbesola’s submissions, a member of the Committee, Senator Chukwuka Utazi ( PDP Enugu North) tasked the minister to note that the prisons are overcongested and that the prisoners face life threatening challenges.

“Since our justice system is not helping, the Minister should use his passion to help us get a good feeding allowance for the prisoners, what we give to our prisoners in Nigeria is not acceptable anywhere.

” We also need to address the issue of prison expansion. Most of the prisons in Nigeria were built by colonial administration. Please start thinking of what should be done to address the problems”, said Utazi.

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