Life-term inmate, Onwuzulike bags third degree certificate in Anambra prison

An inmate of the Awka Custodial Center, Anambra State have been presented with certificate by the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) after being certified worthy in character and learning.

The graduate Jude Onwuzulike, on life imprisonment was presented with Post Graduate Diploma in Education together with Chukwuebuka Ikenwa who acquired Bachelor of Science Degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution.

Speaking during the certificate presentation, Director of NOUN, Awka Study Centre, Dr. Scholastica Ezeribe expressed delight at the inmates’ enthusiasm towards academics.

Ezeribe, represented by Dr. Georgina Ogbonna charged other inmates to utilize the free opportunity provided by the government to better their lots ahead of their freedom.

She said, “We’re here to honor our students for their academic achievements despite their condition. Because we know the importance of education as an institution, we’ve made lot of sacrifices to ensure the inmates in this Center benefit from the programme.

“Certain privileges have been provided, including making the programme almost free to enable them pursue their academic dreams seemlessly. We’re proud of them and happy they made full use of the opportunity.

Controller of Corrections, Anambra State Command, Pat Chukwuemeka thanked both the management of NCS and NOUN for the opportunity provided for the inmates to improve themselves academically.

Chukwuemeka, represented by Deputy Controller of Corrections, Uba Solomon challenged other inmates to borrow a leaf from the graduates to key into the opportunity, which he described as rare privilege.

He said, “We thank Controller General of Corrections Haliru Nababa for creating the enabling environment for the students. We’re lucky here to have a CC who’s passionate about education. 

“We also appreciate the NOUN with the partnership to ensure that willing inmates don’t leave the prison the way they came. Most of them came in with primary school certificates and could not write their names. 

“But today, they have not only been found worthy of learning and character, but they are now with higher qualifications.

“We urge others to be challenged by these graduates and key into this rare privilege because they have the opportunity of passing through a university without paying any fee.

“We believe we’ll have more than this number in the future because this study center is not only meant for inmates, it’s also for staff and other interested ones. Our certificate is even more superior than some others offered by certain institutions.”

Responding, Onwuzulike who was filled with excitement, thanked the Custodial Center and Open University for the opportunity, just as he appreciated his wife for all her support since inception.

“When I came here, I didn’t know such thing existed. I thought it was only in advanced countries that such exist. I came in here with only a certificate, but now I have three; and I’m ready to acquire another one before I go. 

“We thank Open University for bringing this to our door steps. Iappreciate my wife who has been my support from day one. I also thank my inmates for their support to achieve this. 

“To my fellow inmates, I want you to see here as a stepping stone. It’s time to enroll, you can continue even if you’re discharged. You’ll never regret it,” he stated.

On his part, Ikenwa, an aide to former Governor Willie Obiano who said he was discharged after spending nine years and six months on awaiting trial, said the choice of his course was informed by his desire to be a Peace Aambassador to the United Nations. 

He said, “I studied peace and conflict resolutions because when I look at the world and all the catastrophe happening around, I felt studying peace related course will help me apply it on the society. I’m targeting to be a peace ambassador to the UN so I can achieve my dream. 

“I challenge other inmates to study while in detention because it will help them a lot. It will make them forget the circumstances that brought them into this place. 

“When they focus on their studies, it will expose, discipline and prepare them so that when they leave, they’ll be better citizens. Besides, they have no excuse for not enrolling since it’s free.”

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