Education is everyone right and indeed universal. The Nigerian government has shown us the how true this is, as prisoners in some of their prisons have bagged Degrees, while serving their jail term.
Mr. Ajogbor, an inmate at the Ikoyi prisons was on Wednesday presented with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree in Theology, after successfully completing his studies at the National Open University of Nigeria NOUN.
Ajogbor and 10, 000 other inmates were awarded the degrees from the NOUN, at the 2016 convocation of the institution.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ajogbor was presented with his certificate at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons by the NOUN authorities alongside another inmate, Folarinmilekan, who was also presented with a certificate of exemption from NYSC.
Ajogbor was jailed in July 2004, while Folarinmilekan has spent 25 years out of a life jail term sentence. Folarinmilekan graduated in 2015 alongside other graduating students of NOUN after completing his studies .He was awarded a degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution. He is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree at the institution.
Ajogbor, told NAN that the achievement was a dream come through for him, as he had wanted a degree long before his imprisonment.
“I want to say that I am short for words in explaining how I feel. Indeed, I see myself among heroes, those to move the country forward and make it one of the greatest countries in the world. I want to thank the prison officials for their support and encouragement as well as all my sponsors as well as my co-inmates.They have all contributed in one way or the other to make this happen,” he said.
Ajogbor, pleaded with the management of the NOUN to speedily address the challenges faced by the inmates in accessing course materials.
The Vice-Chancellor of NOUN, Professor Abdallah Adamu, stated that acquiring the degree was a commendable feat, which would serve as a stepping stone to greater heights for the grandaunts.
“Due to shortage of sponsorship offers for inmates and the need to help make the journey of producing a university degree a little less daunting and more achievable, the university over the years has supplied course materials for free and paid 50 percent of payable fees for inmates.
The other 50 percent paid for by philanthropic bodies such as religious and non-governmental organizations as well as well-meaning Nigerians.
May I use this opportunity to thank all your sponsors for their generosity and contributions towards your education.
I am sure that a number of your peers who are also incarcerated will like to register to study one of our programmers but for the fact that they have no means of funding their education to improve their destinies.
It is in this light that I have decided to offer 100 percent full scholarship to all inmates who are undertaking a NOUN degree programmer,” he said.
He added that the institution is the only tertiary institution that is offering inmates courses in Nigeria.
The Vice-Chancellor who was represented by the institution’s Director on Learner Support Services, Professor Nebath Tanglang, stated that already modalities were being worked out to ensure that the process was as seamless as possible.
He assured them that plans were on to upload all their course materials on the I-Learn platform, which would subsequently be downloaded in their computers for easy access.
Speaking at the occasion, the Controller of Prisons in charge of Lagos Command, Timothy Tinuoye, said one of the greatest challenges facing the inmates in the institution was that of inadequate facilitators.
He appealed to both the state and the local governments to assist the facility by sending some of the corp members and even full time teachers to assist the inmates in their quest for knowledge.
“We are in dire need of teachers for these people especially at the secondary school level.We all know today that the prison is not just to keep offenders in custody, but rather to reform and get them re-integrated into the society.Now, we discover that some of them came here without any form of basic education.We feel that giving them education will be one of the best values we can entrench in them in an attempt to change their orientations and perspectives about life and thinking, toward making them better citizens,” he said.
Tinuoye added that of the 75 inmates enrolled into NOUN, 59 of them were from the maximum prisons.