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Nigerian Correctional Service trains 45 inmates on skills acquisition By Paulinus Ogbonna

No fewer than 45 inmates of the Abakaliki Medium Security Custodial Centre, Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) , Abakaliki command have been trained in various skills acquisition.

Our correspondent reports that 35 inmates received training in paint making while 10 inmates are currently undergoing training in barbing vocation.

Mr Benedict Oyoko, an assistant controller of Corrections in-charge of the Custodial Centre disclosed this on Friday in Abakaliki in a keynote address presented at a two-day seminar, award of honour and a week of skill acquisition and empowerment for inmates of the centre.

The event was organised by the Correctional Special School (CSS) in conjunction with Inmates Educational Foundation (IEF), a Lagos-based Non Governmental Organisation (NGO).

He noted that the Correctional Service was focusing more on reformation and rehabilitation of inmates rather than punishment, to make inmates better and worthy citizens.

The officer in-charge said that the one week skills acquisition training was to better equip and enhance the capacity of the inmates in their chosen vocations as well as enable them to channel their energies into profitable ventures.

According to him, the skill development was part of the reformation and rehabilitation programme of NCoS geared reintegrating the inmates back to society at the end of their jail term.

He said that the Abakaliki Medium Custodial Centre was built in 1946 with a capacity of 387 inmates but, regretted that the facility was currently locking over 1, 221 inmates showing a congestion of 937 inmates.

“This increase is not a healthy development to the centre as some of the facilities have been overstretched resulting in health challenges and infrastructural decays,” Oyoke said.

He noted that the centre has a well established vocational training centre where inmates are been trained in tailoring, carpentry, electrical, metal works among others.

He commended organisations, groups and public spirited individuals for the assistance they were rendering to the centre.

Oyoko explained that as part of efforts to ensure inmates received qualitative higher education while serving their terms, that the centre was concerted efforts to establish National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), study centre in the custodial centre.

Meanwhile, Mrs Elizabeth Ogwude, controller of Nigerian Correctional Service in an address said that the service was prioritising the welfare and educational needs of inmates to ensure a holistic reform and rehabilitation of the inmates.

Mrs Margaret Irem, a deputy controller of Corrections in charge of Nursing Services delivered the speech on behalf of the controller.

Ogwude said that the service was poised to ensure that inmates in the centre were given the best of education while serving their sentence assuring that efforts were in top gear to establish a NOUN study centre in facility.

“We therefore call on governments; individuals, non Governmental Organisations, churches and mosques to help the inmates.

“In some other Correctional Centres in Nigeria, there is the National Open University study centre which enables the inmates to study to even to PhD level and make good of their years in the prison.

“It will not be a waste if a NOUN study centre is put in place for Abakaliki Custodial Centre; all these and many more explains the reason for the two-day seminar and a philanthropic award of honour to some dignitaries who have helped the Inmates in one way or the other.

“We want to ensure that inmates leaves the custodial centre better than who they were as they leave,” Ogwude said.

Mr Alabidum Mudathir, the Executive Director, Inmates Educational Foundation and award recipient who made donation of educational materials and clippers for those being trained in barbing said that the organisation was committed to improving the capacity of the inmates.

“We hope that these items will be used judiciously and we hope these will be used to prepare them for a better future,” he said.

Also, another organisation, Save Our Social Moral and Educational Foundation represented by Rev. Fr. Ifeanyichukwu Ogodo, presented assorted items including biro, sanitary pads among others to the centre.

Our correspondent further reports that Mrs Mary-Maudlin Nwifuru, wife of Gov. Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi was among other distinguished personalities who received awards of honour at the occasion.

Oyoko received the gift items on behalf the centre and thanked the donors for their magnanimity.




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