The outgoing registrar of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Mr. Felix Edoka, has tasked inmates of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCS) centres across the country to embrace self-development by the instrumentality of the educational opportunities afforded them by the collaborative efforts of the NCS and NOUN.
Edoka gave the charge on Friday, July 1, 2022, at the Maximum Security Correctional Service Centre, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, during the certificate presentation ceremony organised for inmates of the centre who graduated from NOUN during the university’s 11th Convocation Ceremony held both virtually and at the Convocation Arena of the university at Abuja on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th March, 2022.
“We want to use this opportunity to appeal to all those who are in incarceration but have yet to pick up our admission forms to do so immediately. The purpose of our taking the university to the correctional centre is to ensure that we give opportunity to those who want to develop themselves to do so.
“We are hoping that everybody here would be willing to develop hismself/herself, so that by the time he/she is out of this place hopefully, there may not be a difference between you and those who are out there,” Edoka said.
The registrar added “To make this possible, the university is offering you education free of charge. From the moment you pick up your application form till you graduate, you won’t pay a kobo. I see no reason every one of you should not tap into this opportunity to upgrade himself/herself. I urge everyone to come and pick up his/her form and register so that in due time we may come and celebrate you as we are celebrating these ones today.”
Earlier, the deputy comptroller in charge of the Maximum Security Correctional Service Centre, Port Harcourt, Mr. Bryan C. Etim, in his welcome address, had commended the federal government of Nigeria for the establishment of a university such as NOUN, and the management of NOUN for providing tuition-free access to tertiary education for inmates in the nation’s correctional custodial centres across the country.
Etim said that although he was highly elated that seven of the inmates were being presented with their certificates having graduated from the university, the number was, however, like a drop of water in an ocean as the number was very insignificant among the 3,801 inmates at the centre.
He urged other inmates to take advantage of the scholarship offered by NOUN to get enrolled and hoped that the next edition of certificate presentation should witness at least 30 inmates receiving their certificates.
The correctional service boss revealed that he has been giving special incentives, in terms of flexible opening and closing of cells, ration and clothings, to all inmates who have keyed into the NOUN educational programme. He pledged to continue to support all those inmates who embrace learning for self-development.
Dignitaries present at the certificate presentation event, which also featured a drama presented by NOUN student inmates, were the representative of the deputy vice-chancellor (Academic), Prof. Uduma O. Uduma, Mr. Adekunle Okhogbe, and the director, Port Harcourt Study Centre, Dr. Nnenna Nancy Chukwuma.