The Deputy Controller of Corrections (DCC) in charge of the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Ikoyi, Julius Ogueri, has stressed the need for collaborative efforts of stakeholders to reform and empower inmates.
He announced that an inmate of the centre has regained his sight after three years of visual impairment. He said the centre took it upon itself to seek for assistance to correct the challenge through surgery.
He noted that upon embarking on a fund raising to get the surgery done, some well meaning Nigerians, NGOs, churches and even officials of the centre and inmates reached out and the surgery was successfully carried out.
“I want to state here that we are here for each other, irrespective of where we may find ourselves. Custodial centres are for human beings who also deserve care, love and attention.
“Notably, in 2023, through the glory of God, the surgery was carried out and as at today, the inmate has regained his sight fully.
“This can only be the miracle of God, hence I want to urge us all, to render help in our little ways, to show love. There is need for more of that collaboration in the reformation and empowerment of inmates, for a more secured and progressive society.
“This is because government cannot do it all alone, there is therefore the need for more collaborations in the areas of needs interventions,” he said.
According to him, the inmates are part of the larger society and deserve attention that will enable them key into the development agenda of not just themselves, but their communities and the country.
Ogueri said the centre recently organised a special thanksgiving/awards ceremony, as well as inauguration of projects.
“We thank God too for His divine intervention in this facility and also used the occasion to recognise and celebrate some deserving Nigerians who have contributed in no small measure, in ensuring that these inmates and the facility itself are given the deserved attention.
“They have invested their resources in looking after them, so that the society can be better for it, as well as give them that sense of belonging.
“We also inaugurated projects such as two boreholes, a solitary cell, a refurbished ambulance, as well as the Correctional Education Special Centre,” he stated.
Ben-Rabbi Freedman, Controller of Correction, Lagos State Command had said that there was the need for a change in perception about the role of correctional centres in the country.
According to him, the feeling has always been that it is all about closing and opening doors for inmates, get them locked up.
“If you can understand us, then we are better for it, as a country and as a people. One of the biggest challenges we are having, is lack of understanding and lack of support among others.
“If you should understand us, you will discover that we are not just keeping persons here that the state remanded. There are some of them here that the church, their families and the society rejected them and they come here.
“We in turn, work on them, empower them, give them the capacity and return them back to the society. Some of them as pastors, some as imams, some PhD and masters holders and some as carpenters and and so on.
“I am giving this instance to underscore the fact that those that understand us to the extent that they commit their resources into our facility, into some of these person that are some how ‘rejected’ by the society. We appreciate them all immensely.
“I just want to appreciate these persons for their continuous support and collaboration as I urge them not to relent.
“They should always feel free to walk into any of the facilities and interface with any of the officers in charge. There are several areas of needs that should attract your possible intervention,” he said.
One of the awardees, Mrs. Joke Aladesanmi, Executive Director, Centre for Legal Support and Inmates Rehabilitation (CELSIR) said that she felt excited by the recognition.
According to her, no award can be more prestigious like the one from the community one serves.
“We are very happy that our effort and contribution towards the rehabilitation of incarcerated persons is recognised and appreciated.
“We are grateful to the DCC of the Ikoyi Correctional Centre and other officials of the facility for this award.
“In the past we have been doing some interventions by way of providing the facility’s school with a well equipped library, virtual class for inmates to prepare them for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for private candidates as well as other educational materials and sponsorship.
“We also take them through creativity writing training with certification among others.
“My assurance is that we will not relent. We will continue to do more in our quest to give the inmates that sense of belonging,” she said.