The presence of a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal, Alex Badeh (retd.) in Kuje Prison, Abuja, has generated excitement and curiosity among the inmates.
It was learnt that the inmates were amazed to see the former military chief in prison custody barely one year after his image loomed large across the nation.
SUNDAY PUNCH gathered on Saturday that the former CDS rejected food from the prison and opted to feed himself pending the time he would perfect his bail conditions.
It was learnt that Badeh was keeping a low profile in prison custody. A source said on getting to prison, his bio-data and other important details were taken before he was escorted to the prison officer’s office and allocated a cell.
He was said to have opted to feed himself, an indulgence that is granted all awaiting trial inmates.
“An inmate can reject prison food and sign for self-feeding, meaning he would provide his own food, his family members and friends can bring food for him daily, subject to the approval of the prison authorities,” an official who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
It was learnt that Badeh’s rejection of the prison food may not be unconnected with the poor quality of the food served inmates in Nigerian prisons.
The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Prisons Service, Peter Ezenwa amazed the nation last month when he said that a paltry sum of N222.30k was budgeted by the service to feed each inmate per day.
Ezenwa who stated this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Interior to defend the Prison Service’s 2016 budget warned of a possible revolt if things continued this way.
He stated that the service made a proposal of N10.6 billion for the feeding allowance of 65,000 inmates, but that the Federal Government slashed it to N5.2 billion.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Interior, Senator Usman Nafada however contended that each inmate was being fed on N130 per day.
“N200 per inmate per day is unacceptable. If you look at it, you are actually feeding each inmate with N130 per day. When you remove Value Added Tax, contractors’ profit and other corporate services, the N200 comes to about N130 to feed one inmate in a day. It is inhuman to feed a human being with N130 per day. What can anybody use N130 to buy? With N130, no inmate can come out of the prison better,” he said.
The NPS Public Relations Officer, Francis Enobore, could not be reached for comments on how Badeh is taking prison life, as he did not respond to telephone calls and an SMS sent to him.
Badeh was remanded in prison custody on March 7 by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, following his arraignment along with a company, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, on 10 counts of money laundering.
The judge had last Thursday granted Badeh bail in the sum of N2bn, which is to be guaranteed by two sureties in the sum of N1bn each.
Among other bail conditions imposed on Badeh, the judge ordered the ex-CDS to deposit both his blue and green passports with the court throughout the period of his trial.
Meanwhile, a lawyer to the former CDS, Mr. Samuel Zibiri (SAN), told SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday that the two sureties the court mandated his client to produce had been secured and their details as well as the Certificates of Occupancy for their respective landed assets had been forwarded to the Chief Registrar for verification.
He said the ex-CDS should be out of prison by Monday.