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UK to build prison wing in Nigeria

PRISONS: The transfer of offenders may help tackle overcrowding

THE BRITISH government is set to build a £700,000 prison wing in Nigeria so it can transfer criminals held in UK jails.

The announcement was made by foreign secretary Boris Johnson via written statement to parliament yesterday.

The UN-compliant jail will be part of a compulsory prisoner transfer agreement that the British government and the Nigerian government signed in January 2014.

Offenders serving sentences in prisons in both Nigeria and the UK will be relocated to alternative prisons in their respective countries of origin.

The 112-bed wing will be housed at Kiri Kiri jail, a maximum security prison in Apapa, Lagos.

The project is funded by the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund Migration Returns Fund, which provides support to countries around the world that are vulnerable to conflict and instability.

“The provision of this assistance is in line with the Government’s security and stability objectives in West Africa. FCO officials carry out regular reviews of our programmes in Nigeria to ensure funding is directed only to approved recipients,” Johnson wrote in the statement announcing the major development.

The UN standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners cover a number of basic principles. Among the rules it is stated that all convicted criminals in jails should be treated with respect “due to their inherent dignity and value as human beings” and that the “religious beliefs and moral precepts” of all prisoners should be respected.

The decision to send eligible prisoners in British jails to Nigeria may go some way towards alleviating the prison overcrowding, an issue that has been widely discussed.

At the end of 2016 there were 320 Nigerian prisoners – 3% of the UK’s foreign prisoner population – in British jails, according to Ministry of Justice statistics.

Nigeria’s Kiri Kiri prison was built in 1955 and has a long history of overcrowding.

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