The government in London has announced that Britain will build a new wing in a Nigerian prison so that it can transfer the country’s prisoners there.
According to Reuters, the new wing will be built at Kirikiri Maximum Prison in Lagos.
The new 112-bed wing, which will cost 700,000 pounds ($973,000) 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 the deal, eligible prisoners serving criminal sentences in Nigeria and Britain can be returned to complete their sentences in their respective countries.
The British government, however, did not indicate how many prisoners might be moved or when the project is likely to be completed.
The British 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.
Reuters reported on Thursday that 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 in Lagos, but the supplier remained unnamed.
Details showed that 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.
Nigerian prisons, many built more than a hundred years ago, are usually overcrowded, leading to the spread of diseases. Kirikiri is not one of the oldest prisons in Nigeria but it does date back to colonial times.