Fifty-one inmates of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Old Abeokuta Custodial Centre, Ibara, Ogun State, on Wednesday filed out as they graduated after a three-month intensive training in computers and desktop publishing.
The graduates who donned academic gowns, according to the Deputy Controller of Corrections in charge of Ibara Custodial Centre, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Mr. Bamidele Oshin, were trained by computer experts and the training was in partnership with a non-governmental organisation, Prisons Rehabilitation and Law-Abiding Organisation International.
He said the New Correctional Act dwelt on reforming and rehabilitating inmates, and education is one of the routes to achieving this aim, and this has always been championed by the Controller General, Nigerian Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa.
Mr. Oshin noted that there are three types of educational programmes in the correctional study centre.
The three, he said, are academic, vocational and religious educational programmes.
And since there are 76 inmates of the Old Abeokuta Custodial Centre, currently undergoing different undergraduate courses at the National Open University with the study centre domiciled in the correctional facility, he said the computer training puts the beneficiaries in a good position to cope well because the study in NOUN is computer-based.
While he commended PRALARG for partnering with the correctional centre, Mr. Oshin charged the graduands to be role models and good ambassadors to others, even when they would have completed their time.
He said, “You are not going to die here, I believe that you have a future and this place will not limit your future."
“It does not matter the length of your sentence, this is just the beginning of a greater future." I know that some of you are enrolled in the National Open University. This computer training will help you. Don’t give up. I urge you to be a role model and a change agent. "
Mr Oshin further stated that good behaviour and the acquisition of knowledge, either academic, religious, or vocational, within the period of serving time could count for any inmate to be qualified for amnesty.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer, PRALARG International, Mr. Akinwumi Olayemi, noted that being computer literate would put the beneficiaries in an advantageous position as no one could function in the modern world without being computer literate.
Olayemi, who was represented by Mr. Olusuyi Alonge, the West African Regional/National Coordinator of PRALARG International at the event, said a set of inmates had benefited from the same training in 2020, which buoyed the opportunity to organise the current one.
He commended the Controller of Corrections, Ogun State Command, Mr. Abdul-Rasheed Alimi, and the officer-in-charge, Old Abeokuta Correctional Centre, DCC, Bamidele Oshin, among others, for their cooperation in making the training programme a success.
Speaking earlier, the Assistant Superintendent of Corrections at Ibara Custodial Centre, who is also the Social Welfare/Education Desk Officer, Awesu Abdul Hakeem, said the graduands could effectively handle computers after having undergone rigorous training.
He noted that the correctional centre took seriously the education of inmates through either academic, religious, or vocational educational programmes.
Recall that earlier this month, 16 inmates of the Correctional Centre graduated in Qu’ranic studies.
Other highlights of the event were the presentations of plaques to some PRALARG International officials and certificates to the graduands.
The inmates also put up a drama sketch to underscore the importance of education in society, and it was greeted with applause from the guests and correctional officers.