Fourteen inmates of Kaduna Prison are now ready to commence their academic programmes at the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN.
The Controller of Prisons in Kaduna State, Yusuf Abubakar, disclosed this to newsmen on Thursday in Kaduna.
According to him, the matriculation of the inmates took place recently within the prison premises and was presided over by Aminu Kassim, the representative of the Vice Chancellor of NOUN, Abdalla Adamu.
Mr Abubakar, who said the inmates were selected on the basis of qualification required for admission by any conventional university, added that the initiative was part of the ongoing prisons service inmate reform programme.
The controller said the programme being run in the prison in partnership with NOUN was aimed at improving the lives of inmates.
“The award of NOUN degree was based on display of good character and excellence in studies and inmates from each state are selected to benefit from it.
“ All the programmes offered by the university have been accredited by the National Universities Commission, NUC, and the inmates are to obtain degree certificates within the prison free of charge,’’ he said.
According to Mr Abubakar, computers are available for students to use during the programme while internet services will be provided.
The controller expressed gratitude to the Federal Government and NOUN for setting up the study centre in the prison and called on the students to make the best of the opportunity.
On prison decongestion, the controller said inmates were usually transferred from Kaduna to Kujama prison where they engage in farming.
”Crime is committed almost on daily basis in the society and people are convicted daily as well, hence the congestion.
” When the facility here is filled to capacity, we transfer some of the inmates to the other prison in Kujama and engage them mainly in agricultural activities,’’ he said.
He also said a structure with capacity for 200 inmates would soon be inaugurated in Kaduna prison to reduce congestion.