IKA CARNIVAL RALLY STORMS IKA NATION

 

The publicity
needed to keep Ika people well informed about the upcoming IKA CARNIVAL
received a boost as youths, students, community leaders and other stakeholders
stormed Ika land with a colourful rally to reassure the people that preparations
have climaxed on the first-of-its-kind IKA CARNIVAL.

The rally which5
was well attended attracted over one thousand youths, was held on December 10,
2015. The rally kicked off from Hotel Keziah, Boji-Boji Owa and took
participants to different towns and villages in Ika land. Different traditional
dance groups as well as DJ SAKURA of the Organized Noise Entertainment were on
hand to thrill the dancers and inhabitants of the land with good music.

Places covered
by the rally were Owa-Ekei, Owa-Alero, Idumu-Esah, Ute-Erumu, Ekuku-Agbor,
Ute-Okpu, Otolokpo, Umunede and back to Boji-Boji metropolis where preparation
has also been concluded for the next batch of the rally the next day (December
11, 2015) where the remaining towns and villages not covered.

According to the
General Coordinator of the carnival, Comr. Chibuzor Aliogo, the rally is to
create the consciousness of the upcoming carnival in the minds of the people.
He said that the features of the event 
remain unchanged as there will be Beauty Pageant/contest, Cultural
contest for men and women, Talent Hunt/contest. Speaking, he said ” the winner
of the pageant, men and women cultural contest, and talent hunt will go home
with a brand new car worth over N3M, N1M, N1M, and N1M respectively. There are
also lots of consolation prizes which participants will take home. So, I
encourage all our youths and cultural groups to rush to Hotel Keziah to collect
the participation form free of charge”.

Comr. Aliogo
appreciated the initiator and sponsor of the carnival, Mr. Sebastine Okoh, the
Executive Assistant to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Event Management for the
laudable project. He prayed God to continue to bless him in all his life
aspirations. 

INMATES AT AGBOR PRISONS NEED ASSISTANCE

After 27 years
in jail, Nelson Mandela said; “No one truly knows a nation until one has been
inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest
citizens, but its lowest ones”

            For an average Nigerian, the police
and the soldier comes foremost when it comes to issues of security, forgetting
that an enemy exist in a prisoner who is not conquered though overcome.
Prisoners in Nigeria have been groomed consciously or unconsciously to be more
criminally minded rather than being rehabilitated because our prison conditions
do not conform to international best prison practice.

            In countries like the United  States and in some parts of Western Europe
persons  sentenced to prison often see
the prison yards as another home but that is not the case in Nigeria, where
most prisons are  in very bad shape.

            The constitution of Nigeria
authorizes only the Nigerian Prison operatives to keep convicted offenders in
safe custody, to keep awaiting trial inmates in custody, to punish offenders as
instructed by law courts, to reform the convicted prisoners and rehabilitate
and re-integrate prisoners who have completed their sentences.

            For persons who may not know, the
only prison which serves Ika and its immediate environ is the Agbor Prisons. A
visit to the yard last week gave us the opportunity to see firsthand what
Nelson Mandela said about the state of any nation in relation to the lowliest
of its people. We saw both the male and female inmates in conditions that
should be improved upon. Our presence at the prison coincided with the visit of
the members of staff of Agbor Technical College led by the principal, Rev. Dr.
Jude Owabor,  who came to donate
toiletries to the inmates.

            These ill clad, but energetic
looking inmates clapped their idle hands at the prison chapel to the surprise
of newsmen and staff of Agbor Technical College. We saw a reflection of the
regressing state of our nation which we hope the government will gradually
address.

            We thought about what the Delta
State government and Ika residents can do to help these inmates live in a
befitting prison custody, feed and clothe well and most importantly enjoy
rehabilitation and correctional facilities for violating the rules and
regulations of our society.         

            We were convinced judging by what we
saw that the prison operatives headed by Mr Ozili Emmanuel Abada, ACP in charge
of Agbor prison and  Prison keeper Mr.
Egwuatu Joseph are doing their best to keep the Prison running. One prison
inmate who spoke  impeccable English
eulogized the prison officials for all the sacrifices rendered in the way the
daily affairs of the prison is being handled. Agbor  Prison has no functional vehicle to convey
prisoners to court when the need arises, the workshop has no single tool, no
mattresses, no mosquito nets, roofs are leaking, the prison has a medium sized
football pitch with no single football to play and the prison cells are
congested.

            Keeping able bodied inmates without
the facilities mentioned above is not in their interest nor in the interest of
the society. Keeping humans in a state of extreme discomfort may trigger a
jailbreak because in prison, those things with held from and denied  the prisoner becomes precisely what he wants
most of all.

            The thin line between man and beast
can easily be activated if after putting a convict in  prison custody, rather than reforming and
rehabilitation, such individual is further demonized by denying him his rights
as prisoner.  

            The prisoners idle away, eat and
chat and of what benefit are they to themselves and the society that pays for
the years spent in prison custody.

            We often hear of prisoners in other
parts of the world who engage in the production of goods, grow their food,
acquire degrees in various vocations and are reintegrated back to the society.
Wherever prison conditions are humane, we hear of prisoners whowant to live in
prison even after  serving jail
terms.            

            In the Information Communication
Technology (ICT) age, inmates at Agbor prisons deserve a better deal compared
to what we saw.

            Prisons, are established to manage
criminals in prison yards and administer penal treatment to adult offenders to
reduce crime in the society, these prisons can only continue to remain so if
their conditions at Agbor prisons are ameliorated.

            The inmates at Agbor prison may unknown
to many be experiencing recidivism unless the government and public spirited
individuals do something urgently.

            On the part of the government, their
skills acquisition programme is one area that can make remarkable impact in the
life of the inmates.

            For many years calls made to give
Agbor Technical College a face light felt on deaf ears but the current Delta
State government under Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has not only heeded the call but
is emphasizing on skill aquisition as panacea to youth unemployment. Shouldn’t
inmates of Agbor prisons be factored into the youth empowerment programme of
the government?. The prisoners can be kept busy with  equipped workshop.     

            Even though the inmates are
undergoing punishment for crimes committed, 
they can be made to enjoy meaningful work through the use of their
hands. The government in its benevolence can think of sending skilled teachers
who possess sound technical knowledge to teach them.

            On the day we visited the prison,
Rev. Dr. Jude Owabor affirmed his promise to train any exconvict who is
interested in acquiring technical education at no cost. A benevolent promise
indeed worthy of emulation by the government and all Ika residents. The
non-governmental organizations and the entire society should endeavor to come
to the aid the inmates and assist in reforming and rehabilitating them.

            Ika 
indigenes have a primary role to play in adding value to the life of the
inmates because the prison is theirs. The inmates need soap, blankets, visits,
pillows and mattresses, the children need baby food.

            Every gift is useful. Every visit
whether religious or personal visit is important to them.

            We also heard that whenever the
borehole gets bad, it is the prison operatives that contributes money for the
repairs.            Ika citizens should
endeavor to have a change of heart because Agbor prison belongs to all of us.
The prison has vocational workshops with no tools in them. If the prisoners are
engaged in vocational training, we can be sure that when they are discharged,
they will fall back to what they have learnt in the prison. Presently they eat,
bath, the churches come and they clap their hands and back to their cells
idling away. In the night they tell a lot of stories because they are not
tired. If they are meaningfully engaged with skills, they will go back and
ponder over what they have learnt during the day in the workshop. Then we can
be sure that as they acquire technical skill, they will be truly reformed and
ready for reintegration into the society.

            Ika sons and daughters can partner
with the operatives of Agbor Prison to make these inmates very useful to
themselves and the society.

            If these men and women are not
trained, they fall back to the society and everybody will be affected. A full
fledged man who has been in prison for four to five years has virtually lost
everything he had and if he is released back home, those he started with must
have gone higher. But if he is equipped with skill, he can strive to meet up
within a space of time. Without having acquired any skill whilst in prison, we
can all imagine the terror he may again unlish on the society.

            Ika indigenes need to understand
that prison matters. It is not about getting the police and soldier alone. Some
of our security challenges will be solved if these inmates at Agbor prison are
reformed, trained and re-oriented, then they can be truly reintegrated back to
the society.

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