May 23, 2024

Ex-inmate obtains university degree after serving 21 years jail term

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A former inmate at the Awka Correctional Centre in Anambra State, Livinus Ugwu, has obtained a bachelor degree from the National Open University of Nigeria.

It was gathered that Ugwu had served a 21-year-jail term at the facility.

Ugwu, who is now 60-year-old, from Enugu State, was discharged from the centre in 2018, graduated from the National Open University of Nigeria, where he studied Peace and Conflict Resolution, bagging a Second Class Lower degree.

It was a celebration galore at the Awka Correctional Centre, following the presentation of the certificate.

Ugwu attributed his exploits to commitment and dedication, appreciating both authorities of the correctional service and NOUN for the opportunity to advance his educational qualification.

He urged other inmates not to allow their present condition constitute a barrier, but see it as a stepping stone to their advancement in life.

He said, “The world gathered today because of a one-time inmate like me. I learnt so many things while in prison, including tailoring and laundry because I brought myself low.

“I thank officers of the correctional service and the open university for the opportunity. They were so passionate, they took us like their own children. I started from Warri before I was moved to Onitsha where I established adult education.

“Don’t allow the four corners to weigh you down. See here as a stepping stone to greater heights.”

Presenting the certificate on behalf of the university, the Director, NOUN Awka Study Centre, Prof. Scholastica Ezeribe, said the programme was targeted at impacting lives, including providing education to the inmates.

“The programme is a clear demonstration of the importance the institution attached to inmates’ education. We believe in rehabilitation through education, no one is a write-off.

“That’s why we give scholarships to inmates, even after being discharged, so as to equip them to be responsible citizens after leaving the prison walls,” she said.

The Controller, Anambra State Command, Nigerian Correctional Service, Pat Chukwuemeka, said the scheme was initiated for the educational development and skill empowerment of inmates.

Appreciating the programme facilitators for their assistance to the graduate, Chukwuemeka praised the graduate for achieving the feat despite being incarcerated.

He appealed to other inmates to emulate him so as to upgrade themselves.

NOUN Desk Officer, Dr Henry Nwokoye, urged the inmates to see their situation as a blessing in disguise, as well as the opportunity to uplift and add value to their lives.

The Command Spokesperson, SC Francis Ekezie, while giving the vote of thanks, emphasised that the Service would not relent in collaborating with NOUN to positively impact the lives of the inmates through quality education.

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