From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Few days after it organised a beauty pageantry for female inmates, Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), is celebrating 25 of its inmates who graduated from National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).
The 25 inmates participated in the 11th convocation of the university on March 26, 2022, after successfully completing their course of studies despite being in incarceration.
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In a statement, Controller-General of Corrections (CG), Haliru Nababa, stated that his administration places high premium on combining comprehensive education and vocational skills acquisition for offenders, in recognition of the fact that ex-convicts, by their social status, already face stigmatisation which makes job placement difficult.
To aid reintegration and socio-economic inclusiveness for ex-offenders therefore, emphasis is given to vocational trades as back-up to formal education.
The CG noted that the feat was significant in reconstructing a life of propriety for the inmates especially as education in custody is usually combined with opportunities for sundry skills acquisition.
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Nababa however, extolled the commitment of officers and men of the Service for their relentless effort in assisting inmates to discover their potential and apply their talent and energy on resourceful ventures.
He noted that the worthy course is what the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019 represents and shall continue to be pursued with fervour. While maintaining this policy direction, the CG assured that staff welfare is not relegated but given the required attention as much as available resources can accommodate.
The CG, however cautioned staff to work within the ambit of the set rules of engagement with inmates and resist the temptation to be used to compromise discipline and good order in the service. He advised officers to shun acts that are inimical to the health and sanctity of the Correctional Service even as he vowed to leave no stone unturned in flushing out incorrigible elements from the system. He stated that from February 2021 to date, a total 167 staff have been sanctioned with dismissals and reduction in rank for various offences ranging from trafficking in prohibited items to absenteeism. Correctional Service, as the name implies, is established to de-radicalise the maladjusted hence, it is required of officers to possess a level of moral rectitude to do the job, Nababa further stressed.
The CG charged officers to continue to apply themselves to progressive activities and engagements that will enhance the implementation of the NCoS Act, 2019 as the legislative instrument has copious provisions for enhancing both staff and inmates’ welfare in multiple ways.