A joint Biogas and Liquefied Petroleum Gas Operated Kitchen has been inaugurated at the Port Harcourt Maximum Security Custodial Centre, to convert human wastes to biogas energy.
This was disclosed in a statement in Port Harcourt by the Public Relations Officer of the Rivers Command, Juliet Ofoni, a Deputy Superintendent of Corrections (DSC) .
The statement, made available to journalists in Port Harcourt, stated that the project was inaugurated by the Controller General, Nigerian Correctional Service (CGCS), Ahmed Ja’afaru.
The project “will ensure that the Maximum Security Custodial Centre migrates from the use of firewood to Biogas and Liquefied Petroleum Gas, in line with best global practice for contemporary public health in penitentiary environments”.
It is also designed to encourage the use of natural gas in cooking and to promote the Federal Government’s campaign against open defecation.
Ja’afaru, represented at the occasion by Abubakar Garba, Deputy Controller General of Corrections, said that the project’s outstanding advantage was the capacity to address the health challenges in using firewood to prepare food for inmates.
He also said that the project would “save the huge funds the federal government spends annually on the evacuation of sewage from the custodial centres across the country”.
He urged the Officer-in-Charge and staff of the Custodial centre to ensure judicious use of the biogas and Liquefied Petroleum Gas Operated installation to profit the Inmate, staff, neighbouring community and the Government.
He also directed that “officers should always adhere to all rules on health protocols, while maintaining a firm focus on inmates Reformation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration for a crime free society”.
The CGCS said he looked forward to the actualisation of the pledges made to collaborate with the Nigerian Correctional Service in providing the biogas Facility in other Custodial centres across the country.
He also commended the Energy Commission of Nigeria, represented by Mr Dakari Mikaila, Director, Renewable Energy, Mr Emmanuel Awe, Director, Water Quality and Sanitation, representing the Minister, Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Mr F. Ikomah, representing the Minister, Federal Ministry of Environment, for gracing the occasion.
He further commended the Minister of Environment who assured that the Ministry would undertake the construction of biogas facility in Medium Security, Custodial Centre, Kuje.
Also, Deputy Controller of Corrections (DCC) in charge of Water, Sanitation and Renewable Energy, DCC Jatau Raymond, said that “Africa and indeed the Nigerian Correctional Service achieved a breakthrough by successfully executing the project after the Rwandan example”.
He recalled how the International Committee of the Red Cross attempted to solve the wastewater problem in the Custodial Center since 2016 but could only do much within their capacity.
He that the advantages of the biogas plant included: waste to wealth, preservation of the forest/ Ecological green belt, reduction of expenditure in waste evacuation and production of alternative fertilizer for Correctional farms.
He said the plant use would promote general sanity of the work place, consistent with President Muhammadu Buhari’s change agenda for Agricultural productivity and Sustainable Development Goals on Renewable Energy.
He said that with biogas, there would “no longer be evacuation and disposal of fecal matter by the Correctional Service, and no inmates or staff shall suffer undue health complication because of inhaling smoke in the kitchen again”.
According to the statement, Inmates were excited when the Controller General announced a guideline on the operation of the biogas plant.
The guidelines included “generation of revenue out of which the inmates involved in the management of the facility would earn up to N200,000 per month”.
It stated: “The inmates and indeed numerous guest who graced the occasion were full of praises and appreciation to the management of the Nigerian Correctional Service and the Federal Government, as the biogas kitchen is primarily to protect human health which is a fundamental right.”
Heads of Federal Establishments present at the occasion were also quoted in the statement to to have commended the Government for the unique and strange innovation which converted human wastes to Energy.
They also assured that they would continually propagate the idea for adoption in their respective domains.
The Consultant of the biogas Facility, Ibukun Taiwo of Biofil Technologies Nigeria Limited, stated that the project was estimated to produce about 24 cylinders of 12kg gas weight daily.
He enjoined the custodial centre “to put it to use in the kitchen to give room for more bio degradation of waste feed coming into the Digester”.
The Controller of Corrections, Rivers State Command, Alex Oditah, also appreciated the CGCS’s efforts for the laudable project in Rivers.
He pledged his commitment to ensure sustainable, judicious use of the biogas and Liquefied Petroleum Gas operated facility.
In attendance were the Controllers of Corrections in Zone E – Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Imo states.
The statement added that also in attendance were Service Commanders from the military and sister agencies and representatives of the Energy Commission as well as the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Environment.