An ex inmate of the Nigerian Correctional Service in Enugu State, Mr Adeniyi Theophilus has shared how he was able to earn a graduate and postgraduate degrees in prison.
According to Adeniyi, he was sent to prison on awaiting trial over a communal case he was not involved in but lumped in with others on trumped-up charges in 2010.
He stated that in March 2011, the then Controller of Prisons, Mustapha Attah, informed the inmates of the approval to establish a study centre of the National Open University of Nigeria in the prison.
We were surprised because we didn’t believe that there can be a university inside the prison. The CP encouraged those with O ’level results to enroll and that prisons would pay 50 per cent of the tuition fees.
“It wasn’t easy to raise money from prison to pay for the balance of the tuition fees and buy reading materials,” Adenyi said.The inmate, from Nkanu East in Enugu State, added that the trauma of being in prison was enough to discourage him but with perseverance and hard work, he was able to conquer.
He said, “My motivation was that my destiny was in my hands and nobody can make me be whatever I want to become tomorrow apart from God. Another motivation was the fact that my O’level result will not give me a better job when ave the prison.
“The staff of the correction centre also helped the inmates with motivational talks especially the psychology department.”
He said in 2015, among the 25 inmates that registered, he was the only one that was able to complete his courses and graAdani
Adeniyi said his plan was to graduate with first class grade but he was proud to finish with 2.1 in Peace, Conflict and Strategic Studies.
“The institution gave me an award with a sum of N50, 000 and that helped me to enroll for master’s immediately the same year.
“Presently I am through with master’s programme in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka after leaving the prison,” he said.
According to him, on October 5, 2015, after five years and six months of awaiting trial, he was discharged, acquitted and not convicted.
He urged and advised inmates to enroll in the secondary and higher institution available centre center.
“There are more to life, than smoking narcotics and exhibiting bad lifestyle because being in prison is not the end of life. I advise them to imbibe the habit of reading to acquire knowledge that will help them when they get out of prison. Today, instead of doing the wrong thing while in prison, I have written a book and three poems,” Adenyi stated.