By Chinonso Alozie – Owerri
Juvenile offenders in the Owerri Correctional Service, have been promised by the Imo state governor, Emeka Ihedioha, to build a separate court to handle their matters as well as a training institution to equip them with skills.
Saturday Vanguard gathered on Thursday in Owerri, that the promise was made by the governor, when he visited the Owerri correctional service to declare open the reformation and reorientation programme for juvenile offenders as initiated by the office of the Senior Special Assistant on Information and Advocacy, Adaora Onyechere.
He said: “Let me start by thanking Adaora Onyechere, the Senior Special Assistant on Information and Advocacy, for convincing me in this initiative. It is important. I will also thank the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Anthony Obinna, for joining this program. I commend them.
“The Imo state government is reasonably committed to any sense of reform in the Correctional Services. Especially measures that seem to correct in them rehabilitate and not reject, restore and not waste away.
“And salvage our young ones from juvenile delinquency. We will, therefore, live no stone unturned to ensure the reformation, the reorientation and re-entry of juvenile offenders as useful people in the society.
“Consequently, under the rebuilding agenda, we will set up a committee for the prerogative of mercy for these offenders. We are working on reviewing the Imo state law on juvenile offenders and juvenile courts.
“On the treatment of juvenile offenders and institutions of juvenile courts. The principle aspect of this step, where juvenile offenders will be remanded and training institutions for them where they will also be given vocational training.”
In brief, the Comptroller of Owerri, Correctional Service, Chuks Okoye, said that some of their challenges were that the inmates have exceeded the capacity of the correctional service.
He added: “Correction Service have challenges in our operation such as absent of facilities where juveniles are kept. His Excellency, we have an existing land mapped out for juvenile offenders but it has not been developed we also lacked operational vehicles.”