Danger seems to be looming in the prisons across the country as the contractors supplying food items and gas to them have complained of being broke.
The contractors complained that unless President Muhammadu Buhari and the new Minister of Interior personally intervene to settle a total of N6 billion they are being owed by the Federal Government, they would be grounded.
The contractors, under the aegis of the Nigeria Prison Service Ration and Gas Contractors, stressed that if urgent measure is not taken to settle the backlog of the debt, they might not be able to supply food items and gas in December as they have exhausted not only their financial resources but also the sources where they have been getting the money.
In a Save-Our-Sour letter, addressed to President Buhari, dated November 13, the contractors said they have not been paid for the supply of the food items and gas to the prisons since January this year and that they have resorted to taking bank loans with all the accumulative interests, even as some of them have had to dispose of their houses and other properties just so that they would meet up.
The letter of appeal to the President, copies of which were sent to the Minister of Interior, the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Prison Service and others, was signed by the association’s President, Chief S. K. Sanni; National Secretary, Eugene Agro; and the National Vice President (North West), Alhaji Ibrahim A. Asarakawa.
The contractors made it clear that if they are not paid the outstanding money before the end of November, they would have no money to continue to supply food items and gas to the prisons in December, a situation which they said poses great danger to the fragile security of the country.
They said in the letter: “Needless to say that if prisoners and inmates of the nation’s prisons are not fed for two days, they could go hay wire and the consequences are not good to imagine. We don’t want any national embarrassment for Mr. President and his new government.”
The contractors said before this year, they used to be paid two weeks ahead of time, but wondered why the system changed to the extent that they were the ones using their money to buy the food items and gas for the prisons before they were reimbursed.
They said: “We are therefore appealing to the Commander-In-Chief to mobilise funds from anywhere to settle our bill before it is too late, knowing that top on his priority is security. We have endured long enough.”