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Nigeria’s Minimum Wage Is Lower Than An American Inmate’s Daily Upkeep!

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CLAIM: Rauf Aregbesola said the least paid daily upkeep of an American prisoner is higher than Nigeria’s minimum wage.

MOSTLY TRUE: Foreign news reports as well as documents from the Department of Justice corroborate the claim. However, the figures used by the Minister of Interior were actually understated!

Full Text:

On October 19, The Punch newspaper publication on Rauf Aregbesola has been making the rounds. The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola made the statement during the Interior 2020 budget defense session; amid correspondence from members of the Senate and House of Representatives.

The statement: “… the least daily upkeep spent on a prisoner in America was N31,000”. He further added that the amount was higher than the N30,000- the current national minimum.


The claim is actually reminiscent of a report by Daily Mail last year. The United Kingdom publisher- Mail Online revealed that: “California spends $8.6bn a year on its prison system, more than any other state (in the United States), averaging $64,642 per inmate.”

This means that with its total inmates’ population of 133,040, a sum of $177.10 (N63,756.49) is spent on each Californian inmate daily (at N360/$1, Bureau De Change rates).

As at January 31, 2019, the US Federal Bureau of Prisons had a budget of $7.141bn for its 180,210 federal offenders. This was according to a US Department of Justice document seen by our reporter.

When the figures are broken down per prisoner, it comes to $39,626 (N14,265,360) yearly; and $108.56 (N39,081.60) daily per inmate respectively (at N360/$1, Bureau De Change rates).

For a state like New York, its 2019 executive budget was $3.295bn. New York has one of the highest number of prison inmates in the US, over 45,363. This is according to a Fact Sheet from the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS); and the State agency’s 2019 appropriations.

Quantitatively, per prisoner, it amounts to $72,636.29 (N26,149,064.40) yearly; and $199 (N71,640) daily per inmate respectively (at N360/$1, Bureau De Change rates).

This fact-check is an edited version with the original written by Daily Trust; as part of our ongoing partnership with their newsroom.

Strengthening Investigative Journalism for the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

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