It was all celebration at the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison Lagos, as Mr.Albert Emmanuel Ajogbor, an inmate of lkoyi Prison, Lagos, formally received his academic certificate presented to him by the authorities of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) recently. Mr. Ajogbor, who is in his 20th year in incarceration was among the over 10,000 students, who graduated last January at the Abuja headquarters of NOUN. His special circumstance, however, did not afford him the opportunity to receive his certificate at the convocation venue as his free counterparts did, as the prison authorities precluded his attendance at the ceremony. The prison pastor, who opted to study Christian Theology, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Second Class Lower Division).
Prof. Nebath Tanglang (r) presents a certificate to Albert Ajogbor in lkoyi Prison, Lagos
Mr Ajogbor who is in prison for complicity in robbery and petroleum product diversion, is one of the many prison inmates that have benefited from the NOUN initiative to make tertiary education accessible to prisoners.
Similarly, another inmate, Mr. Moshood Folarin milekun, a convict serving life imprisonment and has been incarcerated for the past 25 years, was presented with the National Youth Service Corps Letter of Exclusion, having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Second Class Lower Division) degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution in 2015. Mr. Folarin milekun, who is pursuing his Masters degree programme, same course, same university prayed the Federal Government of Nigeria to grant them pardon.
In his welcome address, the Deputy Comptroller of Prisons in charge of Maximum Security Prison, kirikiri, Mr. Seye Odtutan, while praising the NOUN initiative, revealed that there are about70 inmates undergoing NOUN programme nationwide, 43 are from the Maximum Security Prison, Kirikiri.
The Vice - Chancellor, NOUN, Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, who was represented at the event by Professor Ncbathta nglang, Director, Learner Support Services, NOUN, said, "Our efforts over the last few years have proven to Nigerians and the world at large that those who are confined in prisons, for whatever reason can still choose to take the path of learning and education to improve and prepare themselves for a brighter future."
Adamu said NOUN is the only higher institution in the country that makes education available to inmates in Nigerian prisons, explaining that the NOUN initiative to make education accessible to prison inmates was the university's way to fulfill its corporate social responsibility and to contribute it's own quota to human and national development.
By Joel Nkanta