By Ibironke Ariyo
Abuja – Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd), said the Federal Government was committed to the reformation and protection of rights and privileges of prison inmates.
Dambazau stated this while receiving the 2018 UNESCO Confucius Award for Literacy and Skills Acquisition won by the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that the award was as the result of prisons reforms embarked upon by the current administration.
“We will ensure that we assist the inmates who might have been passing through discrimination from people by ensuring they get jobs, get shops for those skilful and if possible, ensure they get husbands and wives,’’ he said.
Earlier, the Controller-General of Prisons, Mr Ja’afaru Ahmed, had said that specific occupation and literacy skills would continue to play vital roles in addressing acceptance of ex-convicts in the society.
Ahmed said that the NPS programmes were aimed at providing quality service to the inmates, adding that education often blended with vocational skills.
He said that 465 inmates were currently undergoing various degree programmes in tertiary institutions while 23 were undergoing post-graduate courses.
“One is currently doing a doctor of philosophy programme outside the country.’’
“The main reason for skills acquisition is to enable the inmates look beyond white collar jobs after leaving the prison.
“Our work is to reform, rehabilitate and reintegrate the prisoners to the society. We believe this can be achieved through more hard work following the UNESCO award won by the service,“ he said.
Ahmed called on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and philanthropists to assist inmates to acquire vocational skills “to become useful members of the society after their discharge from prisons’’.
He said that NPS would ensure that inmates had quality vocational skills, adding that it would also ensure that prisoners did not wait for white collar jobs after being educated.
On his part, Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who was represented by Prof. Abbah Haladu, solicited for more study centres in prisons across the country.
He said that collaboration among the National Open University of Nigeria, Nigerian Prisons Service and Ministry of Interior would win more awards
Vice Chancellor of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Prof. Abdallah Adamu, said the institution would provide opportunities for inmates without support to further their education after leaving the prison.
“We will ensure that we create Open Distance Learning (ODL) and we will make sure that no inmate pays a dime while getting educated and acquiring vocational skill,“ he said.