By Rabiu Sani-Ali
The Federal Government says it will establish a leather factory at Janguza Custodial Centre, Kano State, that will enhance vocational and skills’ acquisition for the inmates.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, stated this during the virtual ground-breaking ceremony of the factory at Janguza Custodial Centre, Kano, on Tuesday.
Aregbesola was represented by Shuaib Belgore, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry.
He said that the project was part of the reform programmes initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to enhance care and support for offenders and criminal suspects in custody.
He said that the factory would fast track training of inmates of the centre on leather works and enterprising skills as well as boost revenue base of the state and the country.
The minister noted that skills’ training had been a critical component of the correctional institutions to keep safe custody of convicted offenders and criminal suspects.
He added that it would also help to rehabilitate and imbue them with a sense of responsibility which would enable them live a crime-free life on discharge.
Aregbesola said that many inmates engaged in criminal activities because they had no marketable skills that could provide them with means of livelihood or lacked parental support to see them through schooling or vocational learning.
“However, the serenity and the regimentation of incarceration will provide the environment for vocational training and skills’ acquisition.
“Without doubt, providing skills’ development opportunities is central to the realisation of this task, hence, the initiative to up-scale this service in our custodial centres is commendable, especially, with the collaboration of the private investor.
“As a government, we are entrusted with the responsibility of raising the bar of the living standard of the people and the President Buhari-led administration has passionately pursued this course among the Nigerian people, irrespective of social status, including those in incarceration.
“The recent increase in the budgetary allocation to the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) to meet the demands of the institution is a clear testimony to the President’s irrevocable commitment to actualise this promise.
“It must be noted and commended that this leather factory is just a tip of the iceberg on what the government has been doing to improve the conditions of inmates in our custodial centres. They have been beneficiaries of education and other skills’ acquisition programmes,” he said.
According to him, the educational and self-improvement programmes of the service recorded an unprecedented rise in the number of inmates that enrolled for schooling and those that had already graduated.
Aregbesola disclosed that 23 inmates were undergoing Post-Graduate Programmes comprising: one PhD; 16 Masters Degree; and six Post Graduate Diploma Programmes.
He explained that 465 inmates were currently studying various Degree Programmes and 634 of the 1,404 inmates that wrote the SSCE examinations passed with five credits, including English and Mathematics.
He added that 4,757 inmates enrolled for the Adult Education programme and 1,162 graduated, while 280 others had enrolled for vocational education programme.
While commending the outgoing Controller General of Correction, Ja’afaru Ahmed, the minister tasked the Acting CGC, John Mrabure, to build on the enviable legacy of his predecessor and ensure that inmates are put to productive engagements to reduce recidivism.
In a remark, Alhaji Usman Alhaji, the Secretary to the Kano State Government, lauded the initiative saying it would go a long way in training inmates on trades that would enable them become self reliant.
Alhaji, represented by Musa Yahaya-Bichi, a senior official in his office, said that the state government had adopted proactive measures to create conducive business environment aimed at revitalising its moribund industries.
He reiterated the state government’s commitment to supporting the service to enable it achieve its objectives.
Also speaking, Ese Idiegbe, the Project Management Consultant, said that the factory when fully operational would provide 5,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Idiegbe said that the factory was designed with an annual processing capacity of 400,000 hides to provide employment opportunities and boost the state’s revenue base.