Economic Hardship: Prison Inmates Protest Over Plan to Cut Down Rice Consumption

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

It was gathered that the officer in charge of feeding gathered the inmates at about 11:45 am to inform them of his 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.

The source from the correctional center stated that the arrangement did not go down well with the inmates, who resorted to violence by throwing stones and other objects at the staff of the center.

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.

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

He explained: “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 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 remain adamant, some canisters of tear gas are released, and gunshots are 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.”

He stated that normalcy had since returned to the correctional center, adding that the people working there were going about their duties and no inmate sustained injuries.