In a rare show of determination, a man serving a life sentence at the Kirikiri Prison was among the graduands at the 3rd convocation ceremony of the National Open University of Nigeria.
Tunwase Kabiru, who came in company of the prison officials, was awarded a Bachelor’s degree (BA) in Human Resources Management. He told the News Agency of Nigeria that he was currently serving a life sentence at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, Lagos, after being found guilty of murder.
He said: “I want to thank God for what he is doing in my life. I have always had hope in God and that is what inspired me to enroll. I was actually imprisoned after being found guilty of committing murder and I have served 11 years so far.
“I am still hopeful that things will turn around one day for the better, having achieved what I have today.”
The Assistant Comptroller-General Nigeria Prisons, Chuks Afejue, hailed the courage displayed by the graduating inmate, adding that he was the first to enrol and kick start academic activities at the prisons study centre.
According to Afejue, this will prove to people that the prison is not just a dumping ground for those who seem not to have any more hope. He said: “The prison is a place where reforms and rehabilitation take place. Currently, we have a total of 48 inmates who are enrolled in all the four major prison study centres across the country.
“It is an exciting exercise and we want to seize this opportunity to plead with the Federal Government to try and temper justice with mercy, having achieved this feat.”
The Study Centre Director, Mr Ladan Babakodong, said two other inmates were to join Kabiru to graduate but that they were unable to meet up the minimum graduation requirements.
He noted that research had shown that the performance of the inmates were better when compared to their counterparts outside because their only job while in the prison was reading.