A foundation, Female Inmates and Returned Citizens (FIRC) has disclosed its plans to train female inmates and ex-inmates in Onitsha Custodial Centre, Anambra State on production of sanitary pads and other needed services in the facility.
Technical Adviser to FIRC and Executive Director, Carmelite Prisoners Interest Organisation (CAPIO), Rev. Fr. Jude Isiguzo disclosed this on Tuesday during a one-day project planning meeting funded by Misean Cara (Mission Support from Ireland).
He said the project titled, “Enhancing Access to Self-reliance & Healthy Rehabilitation for Female Inmates & Ex-inmates in Anambra State” is targeted at equipping the inmates to become responsible citizens both during and after their incarceration.
He said the organisation formed in 2020 by group of female ex-inmates in Nigeria was born out of passion of female returned citizens towards changing their ugly experiences while in incarceration as well as the welfare of those still in custody.
According to Isiguzo, the training project which would run till the end of the year, would commence in March, with the first session involving interested female inmates and staff who would later train others for a period of three months.
He urged the authority of the Custodial centre to take ownership of the project to ensure its purpose was not only achieved, but sustained, just as he assured provision of necessary supports.
He said, “We’ll be providing the necessary materials and technical support, including the resource persons, at the same time ensure close monitoring and supervision for efficiency and effectiveness.
“The Association lead, Association of Female Inmates and Returned Citizens, Lucy Dangana who did excellently well in Suleja correctional centre will be leading the training. We’ll issue participants with certificate and establish workshop for them thereafter.
“We want the authority of correctional services to take this training serious, which is part of reformation of the inmates as well as ensure its sustainability even after this year.
“The sustainability plan includes marketing the products which will be branded so they can become source of income for the Centre.”
Responding, Deputy Controller of Corrections, incharge of Onitsha Custodial Centre, Igwe Sunday, appreciated the body for the initiative, pledging the Centre’s cooperation and support for a seamless programme.
He said, “Today’s engagement is what we’ve been yearning for. The correctional facility as then known was a dumping ground for criminals.
“But today, the narrative has changed from dumping ground to reformation of criminals and sending them to the society as better citizens.
“That’s why we’re always very happy to see organisations like this willing to partner with us to better the lots of the inmates so they no longer be idle and useless citizens that will be burdens to themselves and the society.
“We want to assure you that our doors are open to ensure this project is not only sustained, but will have longer lifespan beyond our expectations.
“Thank God the Catholic church has provided us with a skill acquisition centre. We’ll not only be concentrating on sanitary pads, but will diversify into other crafts,” he added.