Five inmates of the Kuje Custodial Centre in Abuja have bagged university degrees in different disciplines at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).
Speaking during the presentation of certificates to the graduands in Abuja on Monday, the Controller General, Nigerian Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa, said education was a potent means of rehabilitation.
Represented by the Controller of Corrections, FCT Command, Ibrahim Idris, Nababa expressed confidence that the inmates could compete favourably with their counterparts without stigmatisation.
He said, “Education is transformative and a powerful rehabilitative tool for development in every society. Therefore, with these certificates, they are fit to compete anywhere without being stigmatised.
“We appreciate the National Open University of Nigeria for their unwavering support to the correctional service all over the federation in ensuring that inmates are reformed through education. Over 200 inmates have enrolled in tertiary education in the Kuje centre alone.
“We encourage other inmates of the facility to take advantage of this free education and other vocational skills to equip themselves for success in larger society upon release.”
He also pledged to continue the service’s partnership with the institution in curbing insecurity in the country.
The Vice Chancellor, NOUN, Prof. Olufemi Peters, who spoke through the National Coordinator, Special Study Centres, Mrs Modupe Adesina, urged all inmates to make the best of the opportunity that had been given to them through a partnership between the Nigerian Correctional Service and NOUN to improve and empower themselves.
The Centre Director, Controller of Corrections, Francis Enobore, called on the public to desist from stigmatising ex-offenders, saying they have been corrected, and should be accepted back into society with all rights and privileges, to avoid going back to crimes.