…confirms 20 Aguata Prison inmates
By Chioma Ndife
The auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Awka, Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye has called on those in various positions of authority in Prisons across the nation to ensure immediate and speedy release of funds which the Federal Government made available for the welfare of the prisoners.
Bishop Okoye made the call on Sunday, December 9, 2018 at Aguata Federal Prisons, Ekwulobia, Anambra State, where he administered the sacrament of Confirmation on 20 deserving Catholic inmates and said it was unacceptable for those at the helm of the prison authority to withhold the funds made available to the inmates by the Federal Government. He argued that such funds should be released accordingly and utilized to improve on the living and welfare condition of the inmates.
He explained the need for people who are in various positions of authority to use their position and resources to attract projects that would benefit the prisoners to ensure their re-integration into society when they are released. He commended the skill training initiative that would soon be introduced into the Aguata prison, saying that such development would help in capacity building of the inmates.
The catholic prelate appreciated the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano for granting pardon to 10 inmates and the welfare packages doled out to the prison inmates, saying that the sealing off of the leaking roof, provision of vehicle for prisoners activities, transformer for generation of electricity, palliative work on the road leading to the prison among other projects which the governor intends to carry out would be of great benefit to the inmates.
He disclosed that the greatest regrets of those in prison was the restriction which had been imposed on them by those in authority, calling on them to bear in mind that no one is totally free. He explained that his position as a bishop had brought some restriction to him from both society and God by the virtue of his calling as a bishop.
He beckoned on the inmates to accept their present condition and accept the reformation which the prison offers them in a bid to be change agents in society after their re-integration. He tasked those who were granted pardon by the state governor to imbibe the correct virtues and values of society in order to bring change in their individual lives. He advised the inmates to accept the ten commandment of God as their guilde, saying that what brought some of the inmates to the prison was what someone could achieve within a space of 6 months by virtue of hardwork and labour.
Earlier in his homily during the visit, Bishop Okoye, urged the inmates to look inwardly into their lives and make amendments when necessary. He charged youths to refrain from illicit behavour such as rape, theft, murder among others.
The bishop's visit attracted the presence of Anambra State Governor, Chief Wille Obiano alongside his wife, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, Secretary to the State Government; Primus Odili, Chief of Staff to the Governor among other principal officers of Anambra State Government.
Items such as yams, toiletries, biscuits, rice, and detergent in various cartoons were donated to the inmates to the visit.