Joe Effiong, Uyo
Call it Eket Custodial Centre and it would sound a bit strange in the ears of the people. But that is what the prison is now called, based on the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019, recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
And that change of name and mode of operation is already having positive effects in the former Eket Prison, which now boasts of a barbershop, laundry services and a tailoring shop.
And to cap it all, their extracurricular, or is it extra-custodial (?) activities have been improved with the introduction of a football tournament for the inmates. In fact, the tournament was recently kicked off by the senator representing Akwa Ibom South (Eket) Senatorial District, Dr. Akon Eyakenyi.
The Assistant Controller of Corrections, Mr Etim Effiong Okon, who is the officer in charge of Eket Custodial Centre, while listing these recent developments at the centre during the visit of the wife of the Field Superintendent of the Apostolic Church (Eket Field), Mrs. Nkese Ukpong, said those innovation were aimed at training inmates in various skills.
Okon said those are the reformation and rehabilitation aspects of the Service as enshrined in the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019.
He said the custodial centre has also introduced educational services which aim at teaching inmates from primary school level to Senior Secondary School and prepare them for O” level examinations for further enrolment into The National Open University of Nigerian (NOUN), a situation that made various stakeholders including ,the Ministers Forum of the Custodial Centre, pledge to cooperate with the Service to complement achievements of the Controller of Corrections, Nigerian Correctional Service- Akwa Ibom State Command, Mr Alex Oditah.
Okon described Ukpong’s visit, which boosted the inmates’ fashion shop with new sewing machines, as very timely as the service was undergoing a serious transformation under the leadership of Ja’afaru Ahmed the Controller General of Nigerian Correctional Service.
According to him, the service needs more cooperation and partnership with other philanthropists like her and commended her philanthropic gesture towards the inmates.
He appealed to public-spirited individuals to emulate Mrs. Nkese Ukpong as only the Nigerian Correctional Service cannot successfully reform, rehabilitate and reintegrate the inmates back to society.
The officer in charge thanked the Controller General of Nigerian Correctional Service Ja’afaru Ahmed for all the laudable achievements he has recorded during his watch and the motivation of staff through his pragmatic leadership.
He thanked the staff and inmates for their dedication to the service, their unalloyed loyalty and for their cooperation. He also reiterated that the top echelon of Nigerian Correctional Service would stop at nothing to achieve the aim of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019.
Mrs Ukpong while commending Okon and his team for innovative approach in the management of the Custodial Centre, said; “I was encouraged by the zeal and uncommon passion exhibited by the officer in charge towards the rehabilitation of these offenders”.
She promised to make other contributions to sustain the new found momentum in the management of Eket Custodial Centre.
The ecstatic inmates promised to avail themselves of the opportunity to acquire skills to enable them to live crime free lives.
So when next you need football stars, why not come to Eket Custodial Centre (former Eket Prison). A trial will convince you.