The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, is set to equip 52 inmates with entrepreneurial skills toward improving their lives and the nation’s socio-economic state.
Yinka Fisher, Lagos State Coordinator of SMEDAN, made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen on Tuesday in Lagos.
Mr Fisher said that the empowerment programme for the inmates would assist them to reintegrate successfully into society after prison, become self-reliant and live a productive life.
He said the programme would be done in collaboration with the Nigerian Prison Service, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, and Covenant University.
According to him, the training will hold from May to December at the Kirikiri and Ikoyi Prisons for both male and female inmates.
“The essence of the programme is to equip the inmates with relevant skills so that they would not be vagabonds in the system again but establish their own businesses and engage in useful socio-economic ventures, thereby contributing their own quota to our national development.
“The programme has been on since 2009. Overtime, we have been able to train 576 inmates of which 230 have been released and 146 among the released inmates have been able to start their own businesses.
“They are now employers of labour and helping to solve the problem of unemployment in the country,’’ he said.
Fisher said that SMEDAN would train inmates in tailoring, shoemaking, tie and dye and other vocations, teach them how to turn the vocations to enterprise and instil in them financial literacy.
“We are going to teach them in eight different modules; how to run efficient and profitable business, writing of business plans, how to network, access to finance, meeting with regulatory authority, investment opportunities and avoiding pitfalls in business.
“There is business venture in the prison where they can practise what they have been taught and after their release, they can implement them properly,’’ Fisher said.
According to him, while SMEDAN focuses on the vocational skills acquisition; Covenant University will handle the psychology aspect through therapy and counselling, while Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria will focus on spiritual uplifting.
“Through the exposure at the training, prison inmates would be returning to the society not as social misfits but reformed and well equipped personalities with skills that would enable them settle down to a productive lifestyle,’’ he said.