The condition of some inmates in Nigerian prisons has severally raised question in many quarters if the prison yards are truly meant to reform citizens who have either fallen short of the requirements of the country’s laws or suspects who are awaiting trial.
Despite the concerns expressed, something is happening to better the lots of prison inmates who are determined to see life beyond the walls of the prison yards.
A survey carried out in some of the Prisons by LeadingReporters revealed that Christ Embassy Church is at the fore of this reformative drive by not only enrolling inmates in National Open Universities as undergraduates but shouldering the financial obligations.
According to a source, an inmate in Kuje Federal Prison and a beneficiary of the scheme who spoke to our contact on condition of anonymity, “From what I learnt, Christ Embassy spends millions of Naira every academic session on inmates who have been enrolled for one programme or the other in NOUN”.
“Other people do visit us here, from NGOs to other humanitarian organizations including churches and Islamic organizations. But I guess Christ Embassy Church is at the fore of educational empowerment. They do not only enroll and take care of the resources required for our studies, their medical team visit to offer free medical services. The heads of the Church periodically visit too to encourage us along the paths of patriotism and respect for constituted authorities. Their presence, including that of other organizations and personalities such as one Pastor Godspower Ujo have made life easier for us here. We have problem of feeding as well, but I guess it could improve over time. A lot of us are seeing good life after here”
Asked if there’re other things they believe other Churches and organizations could do to aid the inmates, another source who craved anonymity opined that as a moral obligation, other churches, mosques, rich individuals, NGOs and other men and women of goodwill should emulate the good work of Pastor Chris Oyakilome and aid inmates with self-empowerment programmes, medical supports, sound feeding and possibly enrolling them in schools for further studies.
“Some inmates have received helps from some organizations, but I guess the burden should not be entirely left on the shoulders of government to bear. It is both a Biblical and Qu’ranic injunction to care for prisoners. We are not write-offs in a society. We are as much human as everyone. The only difference is that consciously or unconsciously, we find ourselves here. The idea is to reform us. That reformation should be the collective responsibility of all Nigerians of goodwill”.