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Economic Hardship: Jos Inmates Protest Plans To Slash Food Rations

Some of the prison personnel were injured by stones thrown by inmates during the protest.

Inmates at the Jos Correctional Centre in their hundreds on Friday protested plans by the authorities of the facility to reduce their consumption of rice and beans as a result of the increase in the price of essential commodities.

The officer in charge of feeding had called the inmates together to inform them of the discussion with the contractor supplying them food over the increase in the price of food items in the market and the plan to reduce their consumption of rice from four times a week to twice per week.

This disclosure reportedly angered the inmates resulting in violent protest by them as they threw stones and other dangerous objects at the staff of the centre.

When contacted, the Controller of Corrections, Plateau State Command, Mr. Ibinule Raphael, who confirmed the incident, said the protest by the inmates was a result of the plan by the contractor feeding them to reduce their rate of rice consumption from four to twice weekly.

He added that while the person in charge was trying to convey the message of the contractor to the inmates, there was pandemonium as the new plan to eat rice twice a week did not go down well with the inmates.

He said, “So this morning, as usual, I went to the yard to see what was going on there. I saw an officer addressing the inmates, and when I asked what was going on, he told me he was briefing them on the outcome of his conversation with the contractor that is billed to supply them with food this month.

“He said the contractor stated that he would not be able to feed them rice four times a week again because of the high cost of things in the market and could only cope by reducing it to twice a week.

“The proposal for last year was that inmate feeding should increase, which has not taken off. So, when he called them this morning to explain things to them, they didn’t like it. So, when I was informed, I told him to tell them to get back to their rooms, and they refused to go back.

“So, when they remained adamant, some canisters of tear gas were released, and gunshots were fired into the air to force them into their rooms. That was how we were able to save the situation. Before that, they had started throwing stones and other objects at the staff.

“Some of the personnel sustained minor injuries from the stones thrown at them but no inmates were injured as the situation was brought under control.”

The Jos Custodial Centre has 1,064 inmates comprising 1,035 males and 19 females. Of the figure, those awaiting trial are made up of 647 males and 14 females. While convicted inmates consist of 205 males and four females, inmates on death row are 131.

Seriki Adinoyi

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