We’ve empowered 339 inmates with skills in Gombe in 3 yrs – Correctional Service

Medium Security Custodial Centre, Billiri, Gombe state Command, has said that it had empowered no fewer than 339 inmates, with various vocational skills at centre, in past three years.

Mr Christopher Jen, Deputy Controller of centre, disclosed this to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Friday, at Billiri, headquarters of Billiri Local Government Area.

Jen said 2018 to date, 339 inmates were trained on skills acquisition and 106 in on literacy, post literacy and extra mural classes.

According to him, 94 of inmates trained on vocational skills had been , 124 graduated, while 121 are currently undergoing training.

He said inmates were allowed to pick vocations of interest to them, as “this is a way of ensuring that no one is forced to do what he does not  want to do.

“Once you pick your vocation, learning is easy one will be self-motivated,” he said.

Jen stated essence of the training was to reform the minds, as well as empower inmates, in line with the mandate of the correctional service on reformation, rehabilitation and re-integration of inmates.

“We had to emphasise on vocational training, the crime rate is somehow associated with lack of jobs.

“Inmates here are largely within the ages of 18 and 23 years. They are supposed to be productive. If there are no jobs for them, the society will not know peace, when they leave this  facility.

“If we ’t help them with this vocational training, as a means of  livelihood, there will be increase in crime. The major solution to reducing crime rate is providing employment.

“Government alone cannot do it; so the service deemed it fit to correct, as well as give them empowerment through the skills programmes  they can rely on,” he said.

Jen stated inmates were being trained on knitting and design, laundry, aluminium pot making, building, barbing, carpentry, bag making, fan weaving, tailoring, cap making, cosmetology, tie and dye and literacy.

While stating that the major challenge was getting funding to purchase materials for the training of the inmates, Jen appealed to the Gombe state government to support the by assisting trained inmates with starter packs.

The deputy controller advised youths in the state to shun crimes and engage in productive ventures, through the acquisition of vocational skills, so as to impact on the society.

He further advised youths to shun drug abuse of any form, saying, “please let’s be creative positively and individually to contribute to our country’s development which can only happen when youths acquire skills.’’ (NAN)