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Correctional Service Controller Urges Citizens To Stop Stigmatizing Freed Inmates

… As NGO Promises To Build Printing Press For Centre

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Enugu State Command of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), has expressed concern over the issue of stigmatization and discrimination against freed inmates in the Society, urging the people to change their negative mindset on such fellow Citizens.

It said people should see such individuals as changed persons released to the society, rather than keep discriminating against them.
Controller of the Command, Nicholas Obiako stated this weekend when a non -governmental organization NGO, Free At Last Nigeria Prison Ministry, led by its leader,

Rev. Afam Ikanih, based in the United States (USA) visited the Enugu Custodian Centre where he also made some donation of some items to the Centre.

He listed some of the challenges confronting the Centre to include, over congestion and dilapidated amenities, adding that issue of water and toilet facilities also needs urgent attention.

Obiako who spoke through the Deputy Controller of Corrections, in-charge of Enugu Custodian Centre, Mr. Usifo E. Joseph, who received Akanih and his group in his office, noted that many freed inmates faced second phase of imprisonment and rejection at home and society at large.

According to him, many of them were being discriminated and denied an opportunity to work as citizen of Nigeria, urging the people to start changing their negative mindset on such fellow Nigerians.

“This is why we want them to get skills before leaving the centre. By stigmatizing them means we want them to commit another crime so they can come back where they have free food, accommodation and security.

He explained further that Enugu custodian centre built with the capacity of 638 inmates now houses a total of 2, 434, inmates as at last week Friday, 9th, December, 2022, making the centre congested and uninhabitable for living.

The Controller who called spirited Nigerians to come to the assistance of the Centre in terms of provision of facilities, thanked Rev. Ikanih, for always being there for the Enugu Centre.

He however, described him as a great partner and supporter of inmates, urging him to keep up with the good work.
Obiako, said “i do not go for money, but you can pick a project and fixed it. You have been touching lives but here is the best place to touch lives.

“The people here are not the real criminals in the society but i am happy that you are into this kind of humanitarian services” calling on other Nigerians to emulate the NGO boss.

In his remark, Rev Ikanih, said he was excited over what the controller said about the Centre, stressing the need for people to always show those in the Centre love as “they are still our brothers and Sister and should not be treated as animals or be called inmates.

Rev. Ikanih said in in US, they do not call them inmates but residents and ate treated as such.

Ikanih who is the Chaplain, Milwaukee County House of Corrections, Franklin Wisconsin, USA, announced that he need a space to put in place a printing press at the Enugu custodian Centre.

He told the Controller that “i have the machines on ground so the inmates can learn how to design banners and other printing work that will make them productive after serving their jail terms.

Ikanih said “Part of the profit generated will be used to execute projects in other correctional centres in the state.

According to him, “This is to replicate what we are doing at Milwaukee County House of Corrections with the resources we have”

He added that he decided to embark on the humanitarian gesture in Enugu because he was born in the state.

Ikanih, pointed out that in Enugu custodian centre there were many hopeless residents (inmates) that community abandoned, explaining that, “We have come to fill that gap”.

The Cleric therefore, urged Nigerians to always see freed inmates as their neighbours and family and shun any form of stigmatisation against them.

Rev. Ikanih, who hails from Oji River Council Area of Enugu state, South East Nigeria, was during the visited conducted round various skilled acquisition centres in the Custodian Centre by the Deputy Controller of Corrections, Mr Usifo.

He promised to support the various departments with modern day tools and equipment’s
Some of the workshops visited included, the Carpentry, Upholstery, Tailoring and Artistry.

Rev. Ikanih, had also during the visit donated assorted foot wares and sanitary materials such as hypo detergent, toothbrush among other items to the Centre.

Highlight of the visit was the presentation of a certificate of appreciation to Rev. Ikanih, by the Centre.

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=83779

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