UK to build prison wing in Lagos to transfer Nigerian prisoners

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Britain will build a new wing at Kirikiri Prison in the Nigerian city of Lagos so that it can transfer Nigerian prisoners there, the

government in London has
announced.

The new 112-bed wing, which will
cost 700,000 pounds and be
compliant with United Nations
standards, will make it easier for
Britain to comply with a prisoner
transfer agreement it signed with
Nigeria in 2014.

Under that deal, eligible prisoners
serving criminal sentences in Nigeria and Britain can be returned to complete their sentences in their respective countries. The British government did not indicate how
many prisoners might be moved or when the project is likely to be
completed.

Nigerian prisons — many of them built by British colonisers more than 100 years ago — are severely overcrowded, leading to the spread of diseases. The government in Abuja has said it is developing a strategy to
tackle the issue.

Britain’s own prison system has been showing signs of severe strain in recent years, with overcrowding, rising suicide rates and a growing problem with drug trafficking and other crimes within jails that were sometimes built in the Victorian era.

Kirikiri is not one of the oldest
prisons in Nigeria but it does date back to colonial times.
Last month, the government said the prison in the southern city of Port Harcourt, which was originally designed to hold 800 prisoners, currently has nearly 5,000.

It said 3,700 of them had been awaiting trial for more than five years.

In a written statement to parliament British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said tenders had been placed and a supplier identified to conduct the building work at Kirikiri.
He did not name the supplier.

The project will be funded from
Britain’s Conflict, Stability and
Security Fund, which has an annual budget of more than 1 billion pounds and aims to commission projects that can help prevent conflicts and
stabilise countries or regions.

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