The Nigeria Correctional Service, Enugu State Command, has announced that it has successfully registered a staggering 1,137 inmates for the National Examination Council of Nigeria (NECO) external exams over the last 12 years. The Controller of Corrections in Enugu State, Mr Nicholas Obiako, shared this impressive milestone in an exclusive interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday.
As of now, 124 inmates are actively participating in the ongoing NECO external examination at the Special Study Centre within the Enugu Custodial Centre. This initiative is part of the comprehensive educational approach adopted by the three custodial centers in the state, including Enugu, Nsukka, and Oji River.
Mr. Obiako emphasized the commitment to education and skill development, stating, “For those that cannot continue, they will be enrolled into various vocational centres – tailoring, leather, iron, wood works, etc. – and they will be groomed to pass a trade test examination for certification before graduating from the vocational training.”
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Commending the visionary leadership of the Controller-General of Corrections, Mr Haliru Nababa, Mr. Obiako highlighted the administration’s unwavering focus on education as a powerful tool for the reformation, re-orientation, and reintegration of inmates into society. He praised the allocation of resources to ensure inmates develop themselves while in custody, promoting self-reliance and public protection even after their release.
Deputy Controller of Corrections in charge of Operations, Mr Kelvin Iloafonsi, added that the pursuit of education and obtaining certificates during incarceration has resulted in zero recidivism among former inmates who received education within the custodial centers. He attributed this success to the forward-thinking strategies implemented by Mr. Nababa, emphasizing the importance of pragmatic reformation solutions.
Mr. Iloafonsi also acknowledged the vital role played by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in supporting inmate education. NGOs such as the Catholic Prisoners’ Interest Organisation (CAPIO) have been instrumental in the ongoing 2023 NECO exams, with CAPIO registering about 90 percent of the 124 inmates taking the exams. He called for more NGOs to join hands with the Correctional Service in empowering inmates with education and skills, ultimately aiding their successful reintegration into society.
Living up to its name, the Nigeria Correctional Service, formerly Nigerian Prisons, has continued to demonstrate the essence of the reform by the federal government by making our Nigerian prisons a correctional facility. This is evident in educating inmates and instilling transformative traits through the introduction of transformative activities.
According to a report made by Prawa in May 2014, inmates passed the West African Examinations from one correctional facility. On Monday, October 17, 2022, the National Reformer News Online highlighted that inmates at the Warri Correctional Centre are scheduled to take the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and other examinations. On February 4, 2018, as reported by the BBC, 35 prisoners in Lagos expressed their desire to pursue university education, prompting their enrollment to sit for the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) exams. this and more have showcased the Nigerian Correctional Facility as a beacon of hope and transformation for the inmates in their facilities.
In conclusion, the strides made by the Nigeria Correctional Service, Enugu State Command, underscore the transformative potential of education in breaking the cycle of recidivism and fostering positive change among inmates. As they continue to pursue innovative approaches to inmate rehabilitation, the call for increased collaboration with NGOs echoes the collective responsibility to contribute to the holistic well-being of those in custodial care.
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