Nababa said his attention had been drawn to a report in a section of the media alleging that the Command substitutes cat meat for beef in its custodial centres.
On the evening of Thursday, August 17, 2023, the inmates in Maiduguri Maximum Security Custodial Centre (MMSCC), Borno State, North-East Nigeria were assigned a bizarre task to perform.
They were asked by the newly appointed Chief Warder, Deputy Superintendent Usman Bokko to henceforth catch, slaughter and eat any cats and kittens that they come across inside the yard of the custodial centre as a substitute for government-provided beef.
According to sources, Bokko, who claimed that he was acting on “orders from above” hinted that the provision of beef once a month by the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) was no longer sustainable due to the dire economic realities.
On that day, many cats and kittens were cruelly slaughtered and eaten by hungry inmates who had no qualms about eating cat meat, sources said.
In 2020, cats were re-introduced into the MMSCC yard to combat the large population of disease-carrying rats, which explains the large presence of cats and kittens in the facility.
However, it was learned that when the officer in charge of the Maiduguri Maximum Security Custodial Centre (MMSCC), Deputy Controller Aminu Abubakar Bappa, was confronted over the egregious directive by an inmate, Charles Okah, he was quick to dissociate himself from the action of his Chief Warder.
Bappa reportedly denied that he authorized the mass slaughter of cats and kittens as a substitute for beef, even though it was carried out right under his nose by which time only one female cat and her two kittens were still alive – the others had been slaughtered with improvised knives inside the prison facility turned into abattoir.
You may recall that in the past when Boko Haram suspects were held in MMSCC, the Nigerian Army and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provided beef to all the inmates in the facility once a week even though the warders carved out the lion’s share of the meat for themselves.
The immediate past officer in charge, Deputy Controller Mohammad Jibia (retd.) had insisted during his short tenure in office for the contractor to meet his contractual agreement by providing beef at least once a month.
But after his departure, the provision of beef ceased completely along with the quality and quantity of the food given to inmates, which is blamed on the fuel subsidy removal.
Reliable sources inside the NCoS told SaharaReporters that the agency had been struggling to feed thousands of inmates in its various custodial centres nationwide even though provision was made for their food in the budget. Sadly, it appears that the grossly over-inflated food budget is already contaminated with the virus of corruption and greed.
In October 2021, the Senate Committee on Interior increased the daily feeding allowance of the correctional service from its current N450 per person to a minimum of N1,000 per day.
Officials of the NCoS had proposed an increment of the daily feeding allowance to N750 but the panel described the amount as grossly inadequate. It subsequently jacked it up to N1,000, in line with the current economic realities.