Inside Nigerian prisons, some inmates are breaking new grounds and making millions of naira by venturing into productive ventures.
The most outstanding are two inmates who took to agriculture and invested their earnings on education and transportation while still in the custodian centres set up by the authorities of Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS).
The two inmates have also become their families’ bread winners with one of them maintaining two of his children up to the university level.
Although the NCoS did not disclose the record-breaking inmates’ identities, LEADERSHIP Friday learnt that one of them is at the Kaduna State Custodial Camp while the second, until recently, was kept at a similar facility in Enugu State.
It was gathered that the inmate in Kaduna made well over N2 million from the sale of vegetables from his garden in the NCoS’ camp while his colleague in Enugu owned houses and bought buses for commercial use from the proceeds of his farm produce.
The public relations officer of the Correctional Service and Controller of Corrections, Francis Osagiede Enobore, told newsmen at the end of the Comptroller-General (CG’s) 2019 media parley/facility tour of Dukpa Farm Centre in Gwagwalada, Abuja that the inmate who trains two of his children in the university is not alone in this stride.
He said that another inmate from the South East who left the facility recently was able to acquire houses, bought buses for transportation business as well as household properties through the sales of his farm produces.
NCoS spokesman disclosed that the Service has 17 reformation farm centres spread across the country with over 22 tractors where “we produce large quantity of palm oil, rice, maize and other forms of grains, to help minister moral gaps to convicts.”
Enobore, however, explained that awaiting trial inmates who are on the high side in the correctional facilities are not usually deployed to the farms and other empowerment centres as the NCoS’ mandate revolves only around ensuring behavioural reorientation and retooling of convicts.
He said: ”Custodial camps are borderless environments where inmates who committed crimes outside sexual offences are taken after they have served one quarter of their sentences in the various locations of their primary detention.
They are transferred to such locations based on the recommendation of officers in charge of their primary locations to be given monitored freedom. Monitored freedom in the sense that they are not entirely free but to a very large extent you don’t see them go about with wardens by their side.
They are given relative freedom to see how they can gradually transit to the society. Most of them have their families around, they rent houses for their wives, children and they pay their school fees and all that.” ( Kemi Filani)