TVC N. The Nigerian Prison Service (NPS) has put the total number of inmates in prison formations nationwide at over 68,000, as at last March 6.
Of the number, 46,351 representing 68 per cent are awaiting trial, while the remaining 21,903 are convicts.
Prison Service Comptroller General, Jafaru Ahmed, who made this known to Economic Confidential, said efforts are being made to revive the farm centres in prison formations, to make the agency self-sufficient in food, and sell the surplus to members of the public.
Preparatory to this, the Prisons Comptroller General explained that 22 tractors had been acquired, and boreholes sunk.
He said, “In 2016 budget we purchased so many farm machineries like tractors and other kinds of implements. We have also dug so many boreholes, fish-farming and the rest of them. These would be used to reposition our farm centres.
“What we intend to do when the budget for 2017 is passed is that we have picked three (3) out of fourteen farm centres. The idea is to make sure that we specialize in different farming processes. Like Kujama, we intend to set it up strictly for the production of maize.
“We want to see the production of maize all year round, not only during the raining season but also during the dry season. We have budgeted some amount of money to sink boreholes for irrigation purposes to ensure the success of these programmes.
“We have picked Lampushi farm centre strictly for rice production and the possibility of producing rice during both raining season and dry season. We have also taken Ozalla for the production of palm oil. These are three pilot projects we intend to do this year to see the possibility of whether the prison can actually feed itself.”