Vice-Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, has said that the institution’s free education for prisoners’ scheme has begun to attract foreign interest. A statement by NOUN’s Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Ibrahim Sheme, said Professor Adamu noted that a foreign researcher would soon visit the country in order to find out just how Nigeria is doing it. The vice-chancellor was speaking yesterday in Kirikiri maximum security prison in Lagos during the presentation of certificates to three inmates who graduated with master’s degrees from the university.
The prisoners could not attend the recent 7th graduation ceremony of the institution because of their incarceration. In his speech, the VC expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the inmates who he said have continued to do the university proud. He described NOUN’s interest in educating inmates as a “prison-to-palace” programme, citing former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s experience as one which fulfilled this concept. Adamu said NOUN would continue to sponsor the education of inmates.
According to him, a survey has revealed that most inmates are interested in the entrepreneurship programme of the university because it would make them to seek independence after leaving prison. The Controller-General of Prisons, Alhaji Ja’afar Ahmed, who attended the event that held inside the prison premises, revealed that there are 244 prisons in Nigeria today, most of which are located in the urban areas. He said the prisons, many of which have been in existence for over a hundred years, were undergoing serious renovation under the present administration.
Ahmed said a prison is not for punishment but to enable inmates ponder over their offences for the purpose of reformation. Commenting on the education of inmates, he said there are junior secondary schools in all the prisons in Nigeria and inmates are performing well in exams.