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The Centre for Legal Support and Inmate Rehabilitation (CELSIR), a Non-Governmental Organization has empowered and equipped prison inmates by donating a library to the Ikoyi Correctional Centre in Lagos State.

The commissioning of the library which took place last week Friday will help in the rehabilitation of inmates towards the promotion of prison reforms.

“The importance of a prison library cannot be underestimated. It is a proven fact that a prison library has a very high tendency of bringing positive development to the inmates; this includes some countries like London, USA, Germany etc,” Joke Aladesanmi, the executive director at CELSIR said.

Aladesanmi further said that prison inmates are often occupied with the thought of getting through the rigours of the prison regiments and its environment, but, with the availability of information resources, reading then provides insight into their own actions and thoughts (internal reflection).

The Library is a 21 user library with resources that cut across different genres. It has an Elibrary section that contains resources that will help inmates undertaking undergraduate and post-graduate programs at the National Open University of Nigeria.

On her part, Olayinka Adeyemi, the director of Public Prosecution (DPP) at Lagos State Ministry of Justice said the program is similar to what the Ministry of Justice is doing.

“This program is important and you must key into it because that is one of the things that the correction centre is made to do. Education is very important. You are getting it free of charge here, so please don’t waste this opportunity,” She advised.

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Similarly, Rotimi Oladokun, the public relations officer at the Nigerian Correctional Service, Lagos State Command who represented the Controller of Corrections, Lagos State Command advised inmates to take advantage of this opportunity in training themselves instead of being idle.

“At the Nigerian Correctional Service, we have over 600 inmates at various degrees from First degree to Ph.D. level. And some of them who have Ph.D. have been given amnesty by the government,” Oladokun said.

He adds, “If you don’t learn to develop yourself now, you may not be useful to society when you go out. So, encourage yourself and one another by taking advantage of this opportunity to empower, equip and develop yourselves. That is the reward you will give to the donors of this program.”

In the past year, CELSIR has provided virtual classes for inmates enrolled for Joint Admission Matriculation Board and the General Certificate Examination.

It has also donated Solar Power to the facility to ensure the smooth running of the virtual class. Inmates have also been supported with examination preparatory resources. All of these culminated in the inmates’ excellent results especially in the JAMB where one of them scored 268.

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