By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
Wife of Bauchi State Governor, Hajia Aisha Mohammed Abubakar has secured the release of 52 prison inmates with minor offenses in various prisons across the state.
Speaking during the payment of fines and compensation for the prison inmates in Bauchi Monday, Hajia Abubakar who is also the founder of Briliant Girl Child Initiative said the reform programme was born out of her passion to bring succor to prison inmates.
She said, “We are giving the released inmates N5,000 transport fare and we will also sponsor them on vocational training so that they can be self-reliance and desist from their old ways of life.
Hajia Abubakar, flanked by the wife of Kigi state Governor, Hajia Hafsat Yahaya Bello and wife of Chief of Air staff, Hajia Hanatu Sadik Abubakar said that only one woman was among the released inmates.
“We wish to secure the release of more women because as a woman, I am passionate about the plight of women but unfortunately the offenses of the women prison inmates are above what we can do’, she said.
A’isha further explained, “We settle fines and compensation of the inmates in various prisons in Zaki, Tafawa Balewa, Narbodo, Alkaleri, Ningi, Misau, Katagum, Jama’are and Bauchi prisons respectively”.
She also recalled, “In 2016, we secured the release of 42 inmates which we trained on vocation skills but unfortunately only 39 were graduated while 2 went back to their old ways, and one neglected the training”.
“Also in July 2017, we equally went round to visit the trained ex-convict in their various places of work, during such visit we donated N20,000 to the graduands in order to motivate them”, A’isha said.
The Governor’s wife also donated items worth thousands of naira such as blanket, mats, soap, body oil and bathroom slippers to the prison inmates
Hajia A’isha Abubakar enjoined parents to accept and support the released inmates in their endeavor of becoming a better and reformed citizens.
The Controller of Prisons in Bauchi, CP Suleiman T Suleiman has earlier said that the Governor’s wife will also sponsor the inmates for a vocational training with provision of vocational tools to enable them become self-reliance in their various communities.
Suleiman said that one of the inmates, Adamu Kolo who is in critical health condition was among those who benefited from the gesture, and commend the governor’s wife for graciously approving to pay for his release.
“One of the inmates on compassionate ground, the moment I requested Her Excellency to look into the plight of the inmate who has been critically ill, she obliged and paid sum of N120,000 for his fines and compassion”.
“The unique gesture of Her Excellency is the second of its kind in the series of her laudable interventions to the well-being of prison inmates in Bauchi state. She had in February 2016 released 42 inmates by paying for their fines and compensation”.
This, controller said, was in addition to sponsoring the inmates for a vocational training at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, as well as the provision of vocational tools after their graduation.
He therefore called on other individuals, philanthropists, NGOs and corporate organizations to emulate the Governor’s wife by assisting prison inmates with skills acquisition materials and other basic support.
An immediate past commissioner for Justice in the state, Yakubu Umar expressed worrisome over youth involvement in criminal activities attributable to failed family value.
He said, “If you look at these inmates, they are all youth who ate below 30 years which means something is wrong with our family values and norms. It is a sign that our family value in Nigeria is failing woefully”.
Umar thereby charge parents and guidiance to wake up to their duty of inculcating good morals and training in their children and wards saying ” if we fail to train our children, we are gradually losing our future leaders.
Also speaking, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Haruna Mohammed said the governor’s wife gesture of securing for the release of prison imates is in line with the ongoing decongestion of prisons in Nigeria.
The only female inmate released, Zainab Musa who lost her husband while in prison thanked the Governor’s wife for the gesture of releasing her to reunite with her family.