It was gathered that the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved N3.5 billion for the purchase of 320 operational vehicles for Nigeria Prison Service as part of efforts to decongest prisons across the country.
The Minister of Interior, retired Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahamad Dambazau, announced the decision when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the FEC meeting, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said that the vehicles would be bought locally in line with the government’s policy of patronising local companies to create employment opportunities.
He said, “In our efforts to strengthen the Criminal Justice System, to also contribute towards decongesting the prison system, we presented a memo for the procurement of 320 operational vehicles for the prison service at the cost of N3.5 billion.
“This procurement will be from local manufacturers, assemblers and vendors within Nigeria, and the effort is to follow through government policy to ensure that most of the procurement for equipment and vehicles are done locally.
“That will also provide opportunity for job creation.”
He said the ministry was looking at the best way it could improve the conveyance of inmates to courts so that their chances of getting justice would not be jeopardised.
Dambazau said that many prisoners remain in prison longer than necessary because of the lack of operational vehicles that will convey them to courts.
He said that there were about 65,000 prisoners across the country with over 70 per cent awaiting trial.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, also said that the council approved the purchase of three 150 MVA for power substations at Shiroro, Oshogbo and Kumbotso in Niger, Osun and Kano states respectively.
He said the equipment would ease the evacuation of generated power from power generation companies by the Transmission Company of Nigeria.