The Imo Command of Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) has taken delivery of two storey buildings to tackle congestion of inmates in the prison.
The Controller of the Prison, Mr Chris Okoya, made this known during a tour of prison reformation centres in Owerri, Imo, and Elele in Rivers State.
He said that the each of the storey buildings were constructed by Imo Government and the Nigeria Prison Service.
Okoya said that each of the buildings were well structured for maximum security and to accomodate 500 inmates to decongest the already over crowded prison.
He attributed the prison congestion to many awaiting trial cases, adding that the state government had also constituted a Prerogative of Mercy Committee to handle the congestion.
Okoya commended Gov. Rochas Okorocha and the Controller General of Prisons, Mr Ja’afaru Ahmed, for the gesture and pledged proper maintenance of the facilities.
He said that the Okigwe Prisons had equally been renovated, while vocational, educational, medical and recreational centres of the service were being adequatelty utilised for the inmates’ rehabilitation.
Okoya said that most of the former trained inmates, who had regained their freedom, were doing well outside the prisons.
Conducting newsmen round the skill acquisition workshop and cottage industry in the prison, Rev. Freedman Ben-Rabbi, a Deputy Controller of Prison in Owerri, said the inmates were acquiring various skills to be self reliant and be employers of labour.
He said that over 45 inmates had been trained in the last three years with some given certificates to help them for employment.
According to him, over 181 inmates are currently undergoing one form of training or skills acquisition as post rehabilitation measure to keep them off the street after their freedom.
The media team had earlier visited the Eleme Prison Farm Centre where the Deputy Controller of Prison in Charge of the centre, Mr Imo Ikahokhuele, told them that the inmates were made to engage in farming as a form of rehabilitation.
He said the farm, which was established in 1976, had produced various cash products economic benefit to the country.
He said that the Prison Service had 15 farm centres across the country.
“It is of note to understand that the prison service do not only keep inmates, but make them to undergo transformation by engaging them in meaningful ventures that would help them in future.
“In 2017, the farm centre realised the sum of N2.55 million which is a form of incidental revenue for the centre.
“The inmates, after serving their terms, are empowered with imputs to help them establish on their own.
“This reformation has contributed in no small way to the economic and manpower development of the country, helped to make the inmates useful to themselves and the society because it is in a crime-free environment that you talk of development,” he said.
Ikahokhuele said the inmate reformation programme was a way of re-orientating the inmates’ minds, human capital development and keeping law breakers out of circulation to provide a peaceful environment.
Some of the inmates expressed their gratitude to the Nigeria Prison Service for the empowerment and reformation.
Mr Isaac Nanpon and David Ishaya, two inmates engaged in incenticide spraying on farms, said they now had good experience in farming activities.
Augustine Ogedemgbe, another inmate engaged in palm oil production who confessed to been previously of bad character, commended the prison personel for their efforts at reforming him.
He also promised to be of good behaivour whenever he left the prison walls.
NAN reports that the inmates are also engaged in other skill activities like architectural designs, upholstery, electronics and technical services, carving, painting, shoe and soap making and fabrication.
The Head of the Prisons Central Workshop, Mr Chidiadi Anyatowu, who said he had beenin prison since 2011, said that the reformation had greately impacted on inmates’ lives and gave them a sense of belonging.
He advised Nigerian youths not to indulge in crimes.