Last Tuesday in Awka Correctional Centre, an unusual thing happened. An inmate of the facility, Mr Jude Onwuzulike, bagged two certificates from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Awka Study Centre.
The certificates of Post Graduate Diploma and Masters of Science degrees in Information Technology were issued to him right there in the correctional premises by the Registrar of NOUN, Mr Felix Edoka.
Edoka, who was represented by the Deputy Registrar, Academics, Oladipo Ajayi, commended the graduate for achieving the feat despite his peculiar environment, urging other inmates to take advantage of the programme to become educated.
We are delighted that from a place where many had emerged worse than they were before entering, somebody is making positive news through his decision to better his knowledge with the likelihood of coming out better than he was before he got in.
This is no mean feat and serves as a great example to others like him; that no matter their condition, it is not the end of life. Also, that this young man was able to bend down and study in tough conditions as the country’s correctional facilities offer, is a feat that not just prisoners should emulate, but all others facing adverse conditions elsewhere. His educational feat indicates that he has been of good behaviour inside the correctional facility.
The inmate has done what many free young men cannot do and as such we believe that he needs to be rewarded for his patience, good behaviour, level headedness and good ambition.
We therefore appeal to the Anambra State Government to consider granting this young man state pardon and also give him automatic employment in the State Civil Service.
Doing this will not just portray the state government as one that listens and cares, but will encourage others in the young man’s situation to know that there is hope and life outside the prison walls.
We congratulate Mr Jude Onwuzulike on his feat and hope that others like him will emulate him.