Chukas Njoku, deputy chief correction officer for the Nigerian correctional service, has announced the agency’s efforts to reform inmates.
In an interview with AmazingReveal.com On Wednesday, he admitted that the COVID-19 pandemic, as elsewhere, had taken its toll on efforts within the prison system.
It has been about a year since President Muhammadu Buhari signed a law to reform the Nigerian prison system.
Tagged the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019 It was supposed to initiate various reforms in the life of inmates during detention.
Njoku believes the law would further improve officials and stakeholders in the rehabilitation of prisoners.
“The law has given us a wider range of rehabilitation and reform opportunities for our inmates,” he said.
He equated prisons with schools.
In his words: “They are essentially training institutions”.
He said that inmates are open to both professional and non-professional skills.
Based on collaboration with the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) and other governmental and non-governmental actors, he added that the NCS had further improved inmate access to education.
In addition, prisons educational program products have graduated from various schools in recent years, just as those who chose to acquire skills have been equipped with work tools.
He added that in the NCS welfare department, inmate training officials work with various schools to make learning easier.
According to the law, inmates are included in the mandatory and free educational program of the Nigerian government.
However, this does not apply after they may have been released from prison.
He said NCS Plenipotentiary Jafaru Ahmed prevailed against NOUN Vice Chancellor Abdallah Adamu to give ex-inmates access to free education at Nigeria’s only distance learning facility.
In his other words: “The Vice Chancellor has gratefully accepted that once you are in custody and begin an education program at the National Open University, even if you are released, you will receive this free education until you graduate, if you wish.”
More than 600 inmates are currently enrolled in various academic programs at NOUN.
He believed that this additional privilege granted to inmates would further enable them to strive for greater heights in the future.
While the interview was going on, he assured the public of the humane treatment of inmates and the expansion of detention centers to include decongestion when he called on everyone to work together to reform and rehabilitate inmates.
Watch the full interview below.
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