By Ikeugonna Eleke
Eight northerners in the Nnewi Correctional Centre in Anambra State have regained their freedom.
The prisoners, who were remanded for about two years because of their inability to pay their fines as ordered by a court, regained their freedom after a Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Humphrey Nwajoko of the Everyday with Jesus and Mary Adoration Ministry, Holy Trinity Parish, Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, offset their fines.
The inmates include, Sani Musa, Hammandada Adamu, Suleiman Kabiru, Paul Martins, Jonathan Haruna, Emmanuel Magaji, Salihu Ali and Ibrahim James.
Fr. Nwajoko said he was moved with passion to assist the inmates when some officials of the Correctional Centre approached him for assistance.
He said, ‘When the wardens approached me that there were some inmates who had been imprisoned for close to two years due to their inability to pay the fines ordered by the court and that they neither had anybody to help them nor relations to contact, I was touched, and remembering the words of Jesus,
”I was in prison, you visited me not”, I moved into action. It was not really easy for me to carry the responsibility as times are very hard but I believe that for God to have brought it to my knowledge through the prison wardens I had no choice,’ Fr Nwajoko explained.
Nwajoko pointed out that he had earlier assisted some freed inmates with phones when they were set free by the Chief Judge of Anambra State.
‘There was this freed inmate we had to buy a motorcycle for to assist him in earning. It is not that we have plenty of money to throw around but the joy of bringing smiles to the faces of these neglected persons is enough to spur us on. We believe that in doing this, we are saving souls and bringing them closer to God through the ministry, Everyday with Jesus and Mary,’ he said.
Rev Fr Nwajoko, who said he had been providing for the basic needs of the inmates on a regular basis, promised to do more to alleviate their suffering.
He urged the freed inmates to be true followers of Christ and serve Jesus with all their hearts and soul; even as he charged them to avoid anything that could make them return to the Correctional Centre.
The officer in charge of the Nnewi Correctional Centre, Mrs Uche Okeke, said the eight freed inmates were part of the 25 jobbers arrested by law enforcement agents and were brought to the centre.
She said, ‘We talked to them and tried to get their relations to pay the fines ordered by the court but nobody came for them. So we had to run to Rev Fr Nwajoko who has always assisted us in times of need,’ she said.
A spokesperson for the freed inmates, Mr. Jonathan Haruna, from Plateau State, thanked the priest for his intervention.