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104 inmates of Ibara Custodial Center , Abeokuta graduated on Wednesday after undergoing vocational training for two weeks.
The inmates acquired entrepreneurial skills in paint making, painting, art and design and paint marketing.
The vocational training was facilitated by Anchor Heritage Empowerment Initiatives, a Non-Governmental Organization.
Speaking at the graduation of the inmates held on the premises of the Custodial Center, the Director of Operations, Anchor Heritage Empowerment Initiatives, Bidemi Oladipupo said the training was an opportunity for the inmates to have a skill that would make them independent when they leave the correctional center.
Oladipupo noted that the inmates were trained by professionals in the painting industry.
The director of operations stated that the aim of the organization was to ensure the inmates have legal means of survival when they leave the facility.
He explained that the organization had trained 986 inmates in vocational skills across eight correctional centers in the Southwest and North Central.
“When the inmates come back to the society, they can be useful for the society, they can also be useful for themselves and they won’t go back to commiting crime, that is just the agenda.
“Presently, we trained 104 inmates in Ibara Custodial Center. Generally, this brings us to 986 inmates that we have trained across eight correctional centers in the Southwest and North Central .
“What informed this initiative was that, we tried to think of uniformity across the correctional centers , uniformity in the sense that we see some correctional centers where the walls are not looking fine , the colors are different from the national color that it is supposed to be and also we feel that painting will inform the inmates , like an emotional therapy and we are using this as an empowerment as a correctional tool for them. If we paint the walls , we make them understand no matter how bad it is , their lives can still be better. If the walls could look so beautiful no matter how rejected they feel it is, with a deliberate painting on the wall , it comes out beautiful. So, they can repaint their lives after incarceration, they can still come out very beautiful.
“Apart from the empowerment scheme, the three major things we do in Anchor Heritage is legal aid , empowerment of inmates and after care.
“The legal aid is for unjustified incarcerated people, that do not have access or resources to hire a lawyer, presently we have been able to release 104 inmates till date , empowerment has covered 986 inmates and we are ensuring that when they stand on their own when they leave the correctional center”.
Oladipupo urged the federal government to provide necessary facilities for inmates, adding that, it will inspire inmates to live independeny when they leave correctional centers.
“We just need to be more encouraged and deliberate in the new correctional service bill. The correctional service bill makes the center more presentable , we should get deliberate in providing humane conditions so that when they are coming out to the society, it will be a new time and a new change”.
In his address, the Controller of Corrections, Ogun State Command, Abdurasheed Alimi extended appreciation to the organization.
The Controller who was represented by the officer in charge of Ibara Custodial Center, DCC Ayodeji Shuaib noted that the entrepreneurial skill would help inmates to be independent when they leave the correctional center.
“From record and from statistics across Nigeria , most of the inmates before they got to the correctional centers do not have tangible work at hand , that is why most of them found themselves at the correctional center and now that we have this ,it will assist some of the inmates when they leave the Custodial Center and they will be able to stand on their own in the area if making painting, it will equally empower them in the production of paint.
“The issue of stigmatization will be reduced in this context, the certificate that will be awarded to them will not bear the name of correctional center, which means that they can even present it outside and for them to work with any cooperate organization and even in the government when the need arises”. He said.