A total of 322 inmates in Ikoyi and Kirikiri prisons in Lagos State registered for the West African Senior Secondary Examination, WASSCE, in the past three years, an official has said.
The Controller of Prisons, Lagos State Command, Tunde Ladipo, gave the figure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Lagos.
The controller said that inmates only sat for WASSCE for private candidates for ordinary level certificate.
Mr. Ladipo said that 206 of the inmates were from Ikoyi Prison, while 116 were from the Kirikiri Prison, Apapa.
According to the controller, 75 inmates of Ikoyi Prison registered for the 2017 WASSCE for private candidates.
He said that 66 of Ikoyi Prison inmates sat for the examination in 2016 and 65 inmates in 2015.
Mr. Ladipo said 20 inmates of the Maximum Security Prison, Kirikiri, sat for the examination in 2015 while 25 sat for it in 2016.
He said that 21 inmates of the Medium Security Prison, Kirikiri, sat for the examination in 2016 while 17 took the examination in 2015.
The controller told NAN that 14 inmates of the Female Prison, Kirikiri, took the examination in 2015 while 19 sat for it in 2016.
He said that no inmate of the Kirikiri Prison had registered for the examination in 2017 due to lack of sponsorship.
He added that 59 inmates of the Ikoyi Prison sat for the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, while 32 inmates of the prison sat for the examination in 2016.
According to Mr. Ladipo, Kirikiri Prison inmates do not sit for UTME but secure admission directly into the National Open University of Nigeria, if they pass WASCCE.
According to him, registration of inmates for the examinations depends on sponsorship by well-meaning individuals and groups including churches and non-governmental organisations.
“Assisting inmates to have access to education opportunities was one outstanding way of keeping alive their hope of a successful return to the larger society.”
He noted that the Nigeria Prisons Service was designed as a correction and reformation centre.
“We are trying to transform the lives of inmates through reading that could teach them morals after serving their jail terms.
“With these measures, they will easily get integrated into the society at the expiration of their jail terms,” Mr. Ladipo said.
The controller applauded well-meaning individuals, groups and non-governmental organisations for assisting in improving the lives of inmates.
He commended the Controller-General of Nigeria Prisons Service, Ja’afaru Ahmed, for giving priority attention to reform and welfare of inmates.
Mr. Ladipo also hailed Lagos State government for supporting the command with utility vehicles to facilitate operations.
“The controller-general recorded a remarkable achievement in the last two years with improvement in the welfare and reformation of inmates.
“Inmates are trained in different vocations such as barbing, tailoring, art and design as well as bead making to empower them to be self-employed after their jail terms.
“We thank the state government and NGOs that have been supporting our operations,” Mr. Ladipo said.