Prison reform: Monarch seeks Obasanjo’s help

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The Olubara of Ibara, Ogun State, Oba Olufemi Omolade, has solicited the support of a former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, in the reformation of the prisons in the country.

This call, he said, became imperative because Obasanjo’s experience as a former inmate would proof useful in prison reforms.

He said this on Monday in his palace at Abeokuta on the sidelines of a press briefing organised by a non-governmental organisation, Prisons Rehabilitation and Law Abiding Organisation.

Oba Omolade, who is the chairman, Board of Trustees of the organisation, argued that prisons had failed in their reformatory mandate and there was urgent need to reverse the trend.

He said, “The purpose of confinement of people in prisons is for reformation and rehabilitation before reintegration to the larger society.

“Reintegration of inmates without proper reformation is detrimental to any society. We are saddened by the state of all our prisons in Nigeria to carry out reformation of inmates.

“Most prison formations in Nigeria lack structural and human capital development to carry out modern reformation of inmates.

“The former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, is my friend, he had recommended reformation of our prisons after he was released. I am still going to meet him and convince him to join this group.”

The monarch argued that not all those who were in the prisons were criminals, but some were sent in there for light offences, such as affray and wandering.

He condemned a situation where an armed robbery suspect had a close relationship with someone accused of wandering in prisons. According to him, this could lead to the breeding of another armed robber.

Oba Omolade said the society and family members should not stigmatise ex-convicts, but embraced them and assist them by sponsoring them to acquire skills in such areas as bricklaying, masonry and carpentry.

The monarch also lamented that a research carried out by the NGO in June this year, showed that 70 per cent of people kept for safe custody in prisons in Ogun State were awaiting trial inmates.

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