UK to pay for new £700,000 prison wing in Nigeria
Government pledges funding to enable transfer of prisoners from British jails
The UK is to pay for a new wing in one of Nigeria’s largest prisons in a bid to expedite the transfer of Nigerian prisoners from Britain.
The 112-bed wing at Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison, in Lagos, will cost just under £700,000 and will be compliant with UN standards, according to a statement submitted to Parliament by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson yesterday.
It is to be built as part of a compulsory prison transfer agreement signed between the two countries in 2014. The deal allows prisoners in Nigeria and the UK to complete their criminal sentences in their respective countries.
However, poor conditions in some overseas prisons “have created a legal barrier to returning foreigners convicted in the UK”, says Sky News.
There were 270 Nigerian prisoners in UK jails at the end of 2017, accounting just under 3% of the total of 9,349 foreign national inmates, according to the Ministry of Justice.
A Foreign Office spokesperson said that “helping Nigeria to improve its prison conditions and increase prison capacity will enable us to transfer more prisoners to Nigeria, which will in turn free up prison places in the UK”.
The Nigerian prison extension will be paid for from the UK’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, which provides development and security support to countries at risk of conflict or instability.
Britain announced a £25m deal to build a prison in Jamaica in 2015, but it “fell through following a dispute over funding”, says The Independent. Similar transfer agreements have also been made with Albania, Rwanda and Libya.