– By Patrick Ochei
The Stand-Up For Women Society (SWS), Delta State Chapter has unveiled a roadmap geared towards supporting the education of female inmates at the custodial centres of the Delta State Command of the Nigerian Correctional Service.
This initiative was revealed during a courtesy visit to the Controller of Correction, Delta State Command, Mr. Ovie Friday Esezobor, ably led by the State Chairperson of SWS, Comrade (Mrs) Stella Macaulay on Wednesday 27th April, 2022.
Macaulay in her address, extended a hand of partnership to the Controller, to fashion out ways through which the group could come in to assist the female inmates in pursuing and advancing their Educational career even when serving their jail terms.
Apart from pledging to support the inmates with tutorials and registrations for examinations, Macaulay also introduced the need to engage them in sporting activities to help with their physical and mental fitness towards reassuring them of the love of the society and the need to prepare for a worthy life after sentence.
Macaulay who is the Functioning Permanent Secretary in the Directorate of State Orientation stated, “We are a group advocating for the dignity and integrity of women while amplifying their voices on issues of better acceptance by society, love and respect of their rights. We are helpers of destinies and givers of hope to women who want to actualize their purpose in creation and to help society advance in leadership, human capacity building and development.
“We are aware of female inmates in your custodial centres who could not advance their education by reason of their present predicaments. We feel their pain and we want to give them succour to start life afresh both in the custodial centres and when they are out.
“We have come to seek your partnership to productively engage them while they are here, put them to task educationally and trainings in various skills, after which they will be empowered to stand on their own.
“We are also aware that some of them are giving births in your custody. We want to be of help to the mothers and their babies alike.
“Our idea of sports like football is to create an atmosphere of hope while engendering leisure to refocus their pain of confinement in custody”, Macaulay posited.
Glad that answers are coming to his prayers, the Controller, Mr. Esezobor commended the SWS for coming at the right time to add their support to the numerous needs at the custodial centres.
He said that Delta has five custodial centres – Warri, Agbor, Sapele, Ogwashi-Uku and Kwale, holding about 2452 inmates that need the love and support of every citizen.
Esezobor reeled out the efforts they had made in rehabilitating inmates, thereby accepting to give the SWS the needed support to bring transformation to the inmates.
His words, “We no longer have any business keeping inmates for the sake of punishment but to correct them and reform them to be better for the good of society. We are here to abide strictly by the Nigerian Correctional Service Act of 2019 which has divided the Service into two faculties- the custodial and non custodial.
“The custodial is keeping the offenders of law in our centres for the purposes of correction, while the non custodial includes community service, probation, restorative justice and parole”, he said.
The Controller admitted to the fact that women who were pregnant prior to their being sentenced to the custodial centres were giving birth, insisting that the Service has adequate facilities to manage such occurrences.