No fewer than 430 prisoners across the country are pursuing various degree programmes at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). The prisoners were allowed to enroll for the university education as part of new reforms being implemented by the Federal Government to make life out of prison meaningful for the ex-convicts. National Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Prison Service (NPS) Mr. Francis Enebore revealed this in Abuja at a media briefing on the forthcoming Public Presentation of Survey Reports on the Nigerian Prisons.
Enebore said that the Open University was gracious in admitting the prisoners to make them better citizens of the nation, adding that well meaning Nigerians, religious and corporate bodies had been assisting the ex-convicts in providing for their educational needs. The spokesman added that prisoners are now fully engaged in the production of food for themselves and the country in the new farm settlement schemes established in some states of the federation. His words: “In the education sector, I am pleased to announce that 430 of our prisoners are running various degree courses at the National Open University of Nigeria.
“At the same time, 951 others have been set free by the Nigerian Prison Services due to the intervention of the National Stakeholders which paid various fines imposed on them by various courts as conditions for their freedom”. “In the agriculture, massive revolution is going on with prisoners now engaging in full scale commercial farming. “At the moment, we have our farm settlement in Kaduna where the Prisoners have produced huge quantities of beans; in Bauchi where rice had been produced and Edo where our farm settlement is involved in the production of palm oil”.
“The new prison reform is aimed at making the prisoners to produce food crops and grains for their own consumption as well as the nation at large”. “A total of 22 tractors have been procured for prisons by the federal government and distributed already. We are waiting for delivery of another batch before the year runs out”.