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The Nigerian Correctional Service Anambra State Command on Saturday 20th November 2021 hosted an epoch making event, being the exhibition of products of the inmates skill acquisition, in Awka Custodial Centre. The event which was organised by the Superintendent of the custodial centre DCC HE OKONKWO in collaboration with Rotary Club of Nigeria Awka GRA and Unique Development Foundation for Women & Gender Perspective and Social Development with the theme "RE-ENTRY PROGRAMME 2021" was aimed at showcasing to the public the reformatory activities going on in the custodial centre and the need for them to partner with NCoS for greater impact.

The programme provided an opportunity for the public to see the level of reformation going on, and to equally see what skills the inmates have acquired which has equipped them to be better citizens upon re-entry into the society.

Inmates of the custodial centre who were in high spirit, seeing the calibre of personalities who throng in for the exhibition, could not hide their excitement as they cheer them as they arrive.

The Speaker of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Uche Okafor who expressed his delight at the level of correctional activities going on inside the Custodial centre while being taken round the exhibition arena by the Controller of Corrections Anambra State Command Pat Chukwuemeka fsi.,could not hold back his excitement at the avalanche of products on display. The products which ranges from paints, shoes, slippers,hand fan, metal works, to wood carvings/ sculpture, sewn materials and Adire tie and dye materials,upholstery amongst others, caught the fancy of the Speaker. After picking some items of interest, he encouraged the inmates with a one hundred thousand naira donation. He was presented with a specially customized card by the inmates as their token of appreciation.

In the same vein, the wife of the Anambra State Governor Chief Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano expressed her delight on the uniqueness of the products being exhibited by the inmates.

Mrs Obiano who spoke through her representative, Mrs Amaka Ezike, was full of praises for the Nigerian Correctional Service over what she termed real humanitarian service and for the enormous service of reformation and attitude remoulding on the inmates which led to the production of the items on display. She promised to see how she can factor in the inmates in her numerous programmes as a way of continued partnership towards the improvement of what she saw.

Furthermore, the representation from the Skills and acquisition department of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment led by Mr Okaka Modestus after being thrilled by the level of the inmates' skill acquisition, promised to extend certificates to four most outstanding inmates,which will enable them to be gainfully employed on discharge. He promised their continued partnership with NCoS as a way of encouraging inmates to embark on skills acquisition.

On the other hand, the Sarkin Hausa in Anambra State Aljaji Garba Haruna who was represented by the Special Assistant to the governor on Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Musa Bello, appreciated the reformatory job that the NCoS is doing, which is a veritable tool to reprogramme their minds away from crime and criminal tendencies, while equipping them psychologically and physically, to positively impact the society upon release and re entry.

Also lending his voice, the chairman Anambra State Sports Commission Hon. Tony Oli, represented by Mrs Faith Okwonna, expressed his astonishment at the football skills and team spirit exhibited by the inmates who climaxed their week long football league game during the occasion. The novelty match saw Arsenal team defeating PSG team with a lone goal, through penalty shootout, after a keenly contested match, to emerge the overall winner of the competition.

The winner was later handed over the coveted gold trophy by the Speaker assisted by the Sports Chairman representative. The Speaker gave them #50000, while he gave #30000 and #20000 respectively to second and third place winners.

Earlier in his address, the Controller of the command, CC Pat Chukwuemeka fsi, expressed his gratitude to the Controller General Haliru Nababa mni, whose determination to take the Service to a higher pedestal by leveraging on its reformation and reintegration mandate, spurred the command to contribute her quota towards the achievement of this collective goal. He promised that this will be replicated in no distant time in all the custodial centres in the state under his watch. He later appreciated the guests for finding time out of their busy schedule to honour the invitation, and prayed God to grant them journey mercies back to their various destinations.

Recall that the signing into law of the NCoS Act 2019 brought about a paradigm shift from the hitherto emphasis on custody, to the correctional role of the Service, in line with correctional world best practices.

The exhibition witnessed today, of course is a product of the Controller General's resolve towards the actualization of the correctional mandate of the Service.

Other dignitaries who graced the occasion include the Director State Services Anambra State, the Area Commander, Awka Area Command of the Nigeria Police Force, Communication Officer, Gender Perspective and Social Development Centre Awka, President Rotary Club Awka GRA, amongst others.

SC Francis Ekezie

Command Public Relations Officer

Nigerian Correctional Service Anambra State Command.