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Oshiomhole Knocks FG for Feeding Dogs Better Than Inmates

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The Senate has taken a swipe at the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) saying it is disheartening to hear that its (NCS) dogs are better fed than any of the over 81,000 inmates in correctional centres across the country.

Speaking on Thursday in Abuja during the 2024 budget defence session with the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Interior, Chairman of the Committee and former governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole (APC, Edo North) expressed surprise that the NCS has 900 dogs across its custodial centres and it spends N800 daily to feed each of the animals, but spends N750 daily per inmate.

He wondered why “dogs are better fed than inmates in correctional centres, many of whom are awaiting trial.”

Oshiomhole, who noted that this explained why some inmates, who are convicted on simple cases, leave prisons as hardened criminals because of the inhuman treatment meted out to them, adding: “With the high cost of living, we suspect that these inmates are not fed three times a day. It is not your fault, don’t try to be defensive. It is an appropriation issue,” he told the CG.

Earlier, the Comptroller General of the Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa, had told the Committee that the service spends N800 per day to feed each of the 900 dogs in the service, while N750 is allocated to feed each prisoner, majority of whom are awaiting trials, at N250 per meal.

Nababa, who told the lawmakers that there are over 81,000 inmates across the custodial centres nationwide – with more than 53,000 of them awaiting trial – said his Service spends N750 to feed an inmate per day, an amount he said was grossly inadequate, noting that they had proposed an upward review to N3,000 daily feeding cost for an inmate. The proposal, he added, had been submitted to the Minister of Interior.

Nababa said: “The total number of inmates in 2023 is 81,354 nationwide while 53, 352 are awaiting trial. We feed each inmate with N750 daily and they are fed 3 times daily (N250 for each square meal). We have 900 security dogs and to feed a dog each day is N800 daily.”

He also said that the correctional service has 900 dogs across its custodial centres, and that it spends N800 to feed each of them daily, just as he pleaded with the lawmakers to come to their aid as they have already requested an increase in the feeding amounts for the inmates.

Nababa said: “We wrote a letter to the President to review 3,000 per day for each inmate. We want this committee to assist us in putting in words for us. The money is grossly inadequate. The budget for feeding each of them per day is N751 per day at N250 per meal, per inmate.

The CG explained that the feeding allowance per day would be reduced to N720 after the deduction of VAT and tax

Speaking further, Oshiomhole said that 53, 352 or more inmates are not convicted, yet they are awaiting trial. They are not guilty of any offence known to law. They are innocent under our laws. For an innocent Nigerian who is being held in a correctional home, N250 per meal is grossly inadequate. I wonder what you are feeding them with. They are obviously underfed.

Oshiomhole lamented that while the fault might not be that of the Correctional Service, it was heart-wrecking to know that the Nigerian government has been dehumanizing her citizens, adding:  “The figures given here suggest that you have been dehumanizing Nigerians. If it was the policy of the Federal Government to appropriate more money to feed dogs than human beings, we must correct errors of the past.”

According to him, the government must scale up efforts to address unemployment as prisoners from other countries have made matters worse by taking up jobs meant for Nigerians, describing the situation as an inhumane act to inmates.

Oshiomhole who requested a breakdown of the number of inmates and security dogs they have at the moment and how they are fed on a daily basis, said, ” I would like to see a breakdown of how you feed these inmates, if you say you feed inmates three times a day with N250 each. How many dogs do you have and how much does it cost to feed them daily?”

Apparently dissatisfied with Nababa’s explanations, Oshiomhole who emphasised that the committee will not be in a hurry to “rubber stamp” or approve any budget until they receive satisfactory answers, said: “Your name has been changed from prison to correctional, but you are dehumanising.

“It’s not just your fault because the government appropriates little money for you, but it is either that you don’t feed these prisoners or you feed them only once and even at that, very miserable food.

“This is why they have completely emaciated and some can never live a decent life again even when they did not commit an offence. It is not correct to tell us that you feed prisoners a day with N750, how?

“You all know the prices of these food items in the market, so how can you look us eye to eye and tell us that you feed a man in Nigeria awaiting trial or even committed an offence with N750 a day, how much is a bottle of water,” he questioned.

“The Minister of Interior said yesterday that the NCS, rather than being correctional, is dehumanising. I am surprised that the 2024 budget is still based on old figures. I am surprised the CG cannot, based on the market forces, present before us, the realistic amount that could feed an innocent Nigerian who has not been pronounced guilty by any court of law. You mean the chart is so complicated that you will need to read a book to tell us?”

Oshiomhole, who asked the NCS team how much it costs them to buy the quantity of the foodstuff and ingredients needed to prepare the meal of a prisoner, said: “This is a very important assignment. A lot of  Nigerians under your care are innocent. They are in prisons, courtesy of big men and women who want to “teach them a lesson”

“Many of them are there on an offence they knew nothing about. However, the system has put them under your care.

“Somebody said if Mandela was in a Nigerian prison for 27 years, he would have lost his sanity by the time he was released to govern South Africa. Our prisons are meant to correct the behaviours of the people. They are not condemnation centres. They are not to dehumanised.”

In her contribution, Senator Ireti Kingibe, LP, FCT who was not satisfied with Nababa ‘s response,  questioned the welfare of the inmates, asking:  “How many doctors and veterinary doctors do you have taking care of these inmates and dogs?”

Prior to answering the query, Nababa and his team were seen chatting amongst themselves, giving the impression that they lacked the necessary information.

Minutes later, Nababa responded, saying, “We have 75 Medical doctors and consultants, 6 veterinary doctors who cover Lagos, Kaduna, Owerri and some of them cover more than one state and they move from place to place. The veterinary doctors have different nurses under them.”

Other  Lawmakers present at the joint sitting were; Rep. Adebayo Balogun, APC, Lagos); Francis Fadahunsi, PDP, Osun East), Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, PDP, Kebbi North; Ezenwa Onyewuchi, LP, Imo East);  Ireti Kingibe, LP, FCT, Abdulaziz Yari,  APC,  Zamfara West, amongst others.

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APC Declares Monday Okpebholo Winner of Edo Guber Primary Election

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has declared Monday Okpebholo, the Senator representing Edo Central in the National Assembly, as the winner of its rerun governorship primary election for the September 21 gubernatorial poll in Edo State.

The APC, on Thursday, held a fresh direct primary election across the 192 wards in the 18 local government areas of Edo State, after it declared last Saturday’s shadow election inconclusive.

Nine aspirants contested the election after three aspirants, including Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, former Deputy Governor, Lucky Imasuen, and a former Permanent Secretary, Earnest Afolabi Umakhihe, withdrew from the race.

Earlier, the APC had mandated a seven-man Gubernatorial Primary Election Committee chaired by Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, to supervise the direct primary election.

The party, however, replaced Uzodimma with Cross River State Governor, Bassey Otu.

Declaring the results of the shadow election on Friday at the collation centre, Lushville Hotel and Suites, Gapiona Avenue, Government Reservation Area (GRA), Benin City, Otu said Okpekholo polled 12,433 votes to defeat his closest rival, the lawmaker representing Ovia constituency in the House of Representatives, Dennis Idahosa, who scored 6,541 votes.

Born on August 29, 1970, in Udomi-Uwesan, Irrua, Edo Central, Okpebholo, whose name also coincides with his Okpebholo ancestry, was popularly nicknamed Akpakomisa from childhood because of his survival of the tough times occasioned by the numerous water borne disease at the time.

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Defamation: Emefiele Threatens Lawsuit Against Akpabio, Demands N1bn

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The embattled former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has demanded N1billion damages from Senate President, Godswill Akpabio for alleged defamation.

Emefiele’s lawyer, Matthew Burkaa, in a notice to the Senate President dated February 19, 2024, faulted the “we don’t know what to charge Emefiele with” statement credited to Akpabio on February 18, 2024.

Emefiele, through his lawyer, considered Akpabio’s comment “false, distorted and clearly aimed at disparaging his character and indeed made in bad faith”.

The Senate President at a thanksgiving service by Senator Barinada Mpigi in Koroma, Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State on Sunday, had said Emefiele left the Nigerian economy in a mess and the Federal Government does not know the charges to levy against the ex-apex bank chief in the eye of the storm.

The President Bola Tinubu administration, through anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is currently probing the affairs of ex-CBN governor.

Burkaa said contrary to Akpabio’s claim, the Federal Government had since August 14, 2023 preferred charges against Emefiele and his client had pleaded not guilty of the said allegations.

Burkaa, in his letter to Akpabio, said: “Your statement attributing the present economic woes of the country solely on our client is most appalling and exposes the inaccuracies in Your assertions, especially, as you were a major player in the immediate Past Administration and worked closely with our client and indeed witnessed the innovations he introduced in the banking sector and its impact on the economy whilst in office, as well as the role he played despite all odds in salvaging Nigeria in the P & ID Saga and the positive result it brought for Nigeria.”

“You are also aware that no single policy was carried out by our client without the approval, directive or authorization of the President and/or the Federal Executive Council of which you were a key and powerful member.

“These baseless and false allegations clearly defames the character of our client and has also caused him great pains and embarrassment as it has lowered his esteem before the right thinking members of the society in addition to the obvious odium and opprobrium from the unsuspecting members of the society as a result of the falsity contained in that statement.

“We, therefore, have our client’s further instruction to demand from you an unreserved apology in writing, published and circulated by the same medium with which you have defamed his character and the sum of One Billion Naira (N1,000,000,000) as reasonable compensation for the willful and unjustifiable denigration of his hard earned reputation.

“In the event that you fail, refuse or neglect to comply with this legitimate demand, our client will be at liberty to seek the appropriate redress available to him under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

View a copy of the letter:

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We Will Continue to Prioritize Welfare of Our Senior Citizens – Gov Adeleke

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The Executive Governor of Osun State, Governor Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke, on Tuesday, reiterated his unwavering commitment to the well-being of the pensioners and the populace of Osun State.

This declaration, according to a statement signed by the governor’s spokesman, Mallam Olawale Rasheed, came during the official launch of the free surgery and medical care program for pensioners in the state, a collaborative effort between the Osun Health Insurance Agency and Rotary International.

Governor Adeleke underscored the significance of prioritizing the health needs of senior citizens, stating, “We are here to participate in another event designed to address the health needs of our people, especially the senior citizens, as their well-being is our priority.”

He emphasized the government’s continuous efforts to innovate and implement programs and policies aimed at alleviating the burdens of the people. “Our pro-people activities are multi-sectoral for maximum effect on the citizenry,” Governor Adeleke added.

Furthermore, Governor Adeleke announced the forthcoming commencement of the 3rd episode of the Imole surgical and medical outreach program. The previous episodes provided surgical and medical care to over 50,000 inhabitants of Osun State.

Acknowledging the pivotal role of healthcare providers, Governor Adeleke highlighted recent approvals, including allowances and upgrades, benefiting health workers in the state, thereby ensuring their welfare and motivation.

Dr. Rasaq Akindele, the Executive Secretary of Osun Health Insurance Agency, expressed gratitude to the Governor for his visionary leadership and commitment to prioritizing the health of pensioners and the people of Osun State. He noted that the 23,000 enrolled pensioners under the OHIS scheme have begun receiving comprehensive treatment free of charge since February 1st, 2024, expressing their appreciation to the Governor.

Rotarian Ilori-Olokose Yetunde and Rotarian Ojo Phillip, representing Rotary International, commended Governor Adeleke for his healthcare initiatives, aligning with Rotary International’s core values. They expressed their organization’s readiness to collaborate with Osun State Government through OHIS to further enhance healthcare delivery in the state.

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