Presidency Begins Vocational Training of 500 Inmates in Each Correctional Centre Nationwide 

* N500,000 start-up to be given to each participant

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The presidency has announced that it has commenced the training of 500 inmates in each correctional facility across the country.

This, it said, was part of plan by the Bola Tinubu-led administration to drive down the 133 million people that are said to be living in poverty in Nigeria.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurial Education, Abiola Arogundade, while addressing a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja, said her office and a few other offices, have been given the mandate to train five million people a year. 

She explained that part of the plan was to train at least 500 inmates in each correctional centre across the country.

The presidential aide stressed that the inmates would be trained in fashion designing, Information Technology, soap making, fashion, poultry and fishing, among others. 

Arogundade was of the opinion that this perspective recognises the humanity and potential for change in every individual, adding that the preliminary assessment underscores the urgency of the intervention. 

She said at the moment, the focus would be on inmates that are closer to the end of the prison sentence.

Her words: “We are on the brink of a new era in corrections, with a moral imperative to enhance vocational training at Kuje Correctional Facility. This investment in inmate rehabilitation and empowerment upholds their dignity and contributes to a safer, more just society.”

Arogundade noted that beyond confinement, the training offers inmates personal and professional growth opportunities, including vocational training, adding that this approach prepares inmates for post-incarceration life, investing in their future and societal well-being.

She stated: “We’ve also started training in the correctional centres. We launched the scheme in Kuje. We took a few members from my office to the correctional centre to do an audit of the needs of the inmates. I’m happy to announce that we started conducting the assessment and auditing of the trainees. 

“We are happy to also announce that we have secured it for every single person in training. At the end of their prison terms and our training, we give you N500,000 to set up your business so you don’t become a second-time offender at a correctional centre. This scheme is ongoing. 

“So after Kuje Correctional Centre, we are moving to Suleja. We are going to try and duplicate this intervention in all our correctional centres across the country.”

When asked the number of inmates they target to train at the end of the year,  Arogundade explained: “I will put it in each correctional centre, we would like to train a minimum of 500 inmates. In Kuje now, there are 723 of them, but we will like to train a minimum of 500 and the reason is that we cannot compel them to be trained in something that you want to do, not something like military.”

Arogundade also revealed that there were two dimensions to the training, adding that they have six months and nine months  training, depending on what the inmates want to do. 

She added: “Our target is to start with people who are closer to the end of their sentence, so that as you are going out, you are going out with the skills and the day that you will be released, we will release the N500,000 to you. We will also mentor you and teach you how to start up a business just to make sure you don’t become second-time offenders. We rehabilitate you into the community.”

According to her, “We are also training the beneficiaries. For example, if you are going to be a hairdresser, we train you on how to have the best skills in hairdressing. We empower you with the kiosk. Not only that, the kiosk will have three streams of income. You can use the kiosk for your main skill which in this case as I mentioned, will be hairdressing, you can use it for POS business and other ventures. 

“So we are partnering with the bank. They will supply the POS and also you can use it to charge phones. We are using that as a multi-purpose intervention for three streams of income which we are launching today and we will be giving it out to the beneficiaries after we train and certify them.” 

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