21st December, 2017
A group, under the aegis of Business and Professional Women (BPW), on Thursday secured freedom for six prisoners in Keffi, Nasarawa state, after paying their fines as part of activities to mark some of its members’ birthdays.
The Coordinator of the group, Mrs Ada Bisong, told newsmen that the gesture was part of the group’s corporate social responsibilities considered necessary in honour of Mrs Christie Obinatu, Controller of Prisons of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and others.
“Obinatu, a leading member, has a tradition of visiting inmates on her birthdays with items to felicitate with them.
“So this year, we decided to join her with some of our other sisters marking their birthdays to feed the inmates and secure the release of six by paying their fines,” Bisong added.
She explained that the group would uphold the gesture regularly to de-congest the prisons and give a second chance to mostly the young convicts to make amends.
BPW is an affiliate of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBPW) championing the course of women and the less privileged in the society.
“Part of our mandate is to ensure that more women and the less-privileged are given opportunities for economic empowerment as a safeguard for societal peace,” Bisong said.
In her remarks, the celebrator, Mrs Obinatu, condemned the attitude of the youth indulging in criminal activities often resulting in their imprisonment.
She said it had been a tradition for her as a mother to reach out to the inmates, especially on her birthday to feed and present them some gifts.
The prison controller admonished the ex-convicts to strive towards becoming responsible citizens when resettled in their communities.
“For those of you lucky to be freed today, if I ever hear that you return, I would personally ensure that you are locked up in a secluded cell for one month and I guess you know what that can do to you,” Obinatu said.
Similarly, another member of the group, Mrs Yemisi Bankole, expressed fulfillment for celebrating her birthday with the inmates and touching lives in her own way.
She advised the ex-convicts to move closer to God and pray for His intervention in their lives, to enable them to turn a new leaf.
Responding, the Deputy Controller in charge of Keffi Prison, Mr James Lander, commended the group’s gesture, saying that their show of love would go along way in rehabilitating the inmates.
DCP Lander explained that the 160-capacity prison currently had more than 560 inmates, saying the facility was overstretched as 350 of them were awaiting trial.
The prison chief said nearly 100 inmates had been set free since September, expressing optimism that more would regain their freedom before the end of the year.
One of the freed inmates, Ibrahim Garba, thanked the group for its magnanimity.
Garba assured the philanthropists that they would strive to live a responsible life to justify the gesture.