By Chunedu Adonu
ENUGU – FOUR prison inmates who are serving different jail terms, at the Enugu Maximum Prison Thursday, received their degree certificates after their graduation from National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, the Controller of Prisons, Enugu state command, Mr. Ndubuisi Ogbodo said that prison serves as a place for reformation of inmates and that NOUN Enugu Prison Study Centre had produced many graduates since inception in 2011.
“This programme is playing a pivotal role to ensure that inmates are reformed and rehabilitated. Some of the inmates who graduated from the programme were released recently during the visit of the Presidential Committee on Prison Decongestion in Nigeria because they were found to be fit to be re-integrated into the society,” he said.
The Vice Chancellor of NOUN Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu, who was represented at the occasion by Deputy Vice Chancellor Administration, Prof. Justuce Shokefun said that the University runs an open door policy and enjoined those yet to enroll to do so as all the programmes are tuition free.
‘What we are doing today is presentation of certificate because we have already held convocation ceremony for the graduates in March this year,” he explained.
In an address, the Desk Officer NOUN Enugu Prison Study Centre, CSP Kevin Iloafonsi gave the names of the graduates as; Chukwunonso Nomeh, MBA Business Administration, Enugu state; Kevin Ibane, B. Sc Entrepreneurial Studies, Delta State; David Amaefuna, B.Sc Entrepreneurial Studies, Abia State, and Chukwuma Uche, B.Sc Peace and Conflict Resolution, Abia State.
Iloafonsi said that inmates of Enugu prison register for NECO examination every year even as three of the inmates have finished their course work in Law and are writing their Project; six finished and submitted their project and awaiting their result; 15 in final year and 27 so far gained new admission.
Speaking during a closing remark, the Enugu state commissioner of police, Suleiman Balarabe urged the inmates to utilise the opportunity given to them by National Open University to get degree certificate while serving in prison.
A Non governmental organization, Young African Leaders Initiative Network, Enugu, YALI, who celebrated Nelson Mandela’s day with inmates commended the Director of National Open University for creating such platform to reforming the inmates.
Barr. Emmanuel Igwe who led YALI group to the event advised the inmates not to lose hope, pointing out that Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prisons and became leader of emulation.
“Today is Nelson Mandela’s day and we came to celebrate with the inmates as part of our contribution in reforming them not knowing that they are celebrating a great achievement. I thank the management of NOUN for creating such platform for reforming the inmates”, Igwe said.