The Nigerian Prisons Service has won the 2018 UNESCO/Confucius Prize for Literacy, beating 70 other entries from across the world to clinch the coveted prize.
At a ceremony in Paris, France, the service was awarded a $20, 000
cash prize, medals and a diploma as well as accorded an opportunity to visit China, the birthplace of the Chinese Educationist and
While handing over the awards to the Minister of Interior, Gen.
Abdulrahman Dambazau at a brief ceremony in Abuja yesterday,
Controller General of Prisons, Ahmed Ja’afaru noted that the service
currently has no fewer than 465 inmates studying undergraduate courses at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) while many others have begun their post graduate programmes.
He listed several international awards that the service had won this
year alone, saying; “These prizes are made possible by the Prisons
Service in terms of providing educational services. As we speak today, we have over 465 inmates in various disciplines, 23 are doing their post graduate degrees. We also have an active collaboration with the College of Education, Yelwa where we have also graduated scores of inmates.
“We blend formal education with skills acquisition and we hope that
this will be a model for this country so that the country’s university
graduates can be self employed upon graduation. We have aftercare
services where we equip all the inmates that have been discharged and I am happy that they doing well and have left the lives of crime”, he said.
Dambazau on his part urged stakeholders to scale up their assistance
to prison inmates to cover their resettlement and reintegration into
the society upon their release.
He said; “Education is a right to all Nigerians including prison
inmates and this is one of the things we are pursuing. It is also one
of the quickest ways to rehabilitate inmates. Just like we cannot ask
inmates to pay for their feeding, we will not also ask them to pay for
education. We must collaborate on how to sustain the educational
advancements of ex inmates.
“In other words, it has to be total resettlement and integration
programme. We must assist them in job placements too. Even marriage, we should find wives for them, we should find husbands for them. This is not a laughing matter because people discriminate against them more than any other group of persons.”