A former inmate of Awka Correctional Center in Anambra State, Livinus Ugwu, graduated from the National Open University of Nigeria.
He would have served a 21-year prison sentence in the establishment.
Ugwu, 60, from Enugu State, who was released from the center in 2018, graduated from the National Open University of Nigeria, where he studied peace and conflict resolution, earning a lower second degree class.
It was a party galore at the Awka Correctional Center after the certificate was awarded.
Ugwu attributed his achievements to commitment and dedication, appreciating both the corrections authorities and NOUN for the opportunity to advance his educational qualification.
He urged other inmates not to let their current condition be an obstacle, but to see it as a stepping stone to their advancement in life.
He said, “The world came together today because of a former inmate like me. I learned so many things in prison including sewing and laundry because I put myself down.
“I thank the officers of the correctional service and the open university for this opportunity. They were so passionate that they took us on as their own children. I started in Warri before being transferred to Onitsha where I created adult education.
“Don’t let the four corners weigh you down. See here as a springboard to greater heights.
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Presenting the certificate on behalf of the university, the Director of the NOUN Awka Study Centre, Professor Scholastica Ezeribe said the program aims to have an impact on lives, including providing education to inmates.
“The program is a clear demonstration of the importance the institution places on inmate education. We believe in rehabilitation through education, no one is written off.
“That’s why we give scholarships to inmates, even after their release, to equip them to be responsible citizens after leaving prison walls,” she said.
The Comptroller, Anambra State Command, Nigerian Correctional Service, Pat Chukwuemeka, said the program was initiated for the educational development and skills empowerment of inmates.
Appreciating the program facilitators for their assistance to the graduate, Chukwuemeka congratulated the graduate for achieving the feat despite his incarceration.
He appealed to other inmates to imitate him in order to upgrade.
NOUN Desk Officer, Dr. Henry Nwokoye, urged inmates to see their situation as a blessing in disguise, as well as an opportunity to uplift and add value to their lives.
Command Spokesperson, SC Francis Ekezie, while expressing his thanks, emphasized that the Service will not relent in working with NOUN to positively impact the lives of inmates through quality education.