The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command, has involved inmates at the Kuje Custodian Center in sports activities as part of efforts to reform their minds.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the sports activities include football, badminton, table tennis and volleyball and are sponsored by the Legend Golden Care Foundation under the Beyond the Wall initiative.
The chairman of the foundation, Mr. Olisa Metuh, said the decision to sponsor the sports competition in the center of Kuje was based on his experience as a one-time inmate at the center.
Metuh said he founded the Beyond the Wall Initiative to help people in prisons by training and preparing them for life beyond the wall.
Metuh added that the foundation also provided free legal aid to the detainee who could not afford legal aid.
The foundation is putting together the largest pro bono association or relief effort in the history of this country and we are just getting started.
We want to make sure that people who can’t afford a good legal presentation get good lawyers to help them.
But for today we are here because of this match.
First of all, I would like to commend the federal government for creating a favorable climate and atmosphere in which sport can thrive in penal institutions.
My own experience has proven that this government has indeed paid close attention to the correctional facilities and has put in place many programs and policies to ensure that the people held here are well prepared to face the outside world.
So I commend the government, the Ministry of the Interior and the minister and the controller of the correction in FCT, he said.
Metuh said the sporting events would have a positive impact on the psyche of the inmates, and said that when he was there, he noticed that the preparation for the match was always heated.
According to him, many debates, many activities, they program themselves, they form groups and associations.
First, it helps them exercise, because when you’re here, the most important thing is to train your body and clear your mind.
If your spirit is here within this wall, it is trapped and it will affect your health and psyche and affect you as a human being.
But if your mind is transported and transformed to another place, then you will be focused.
So these sports activities helped them to free their minds.
It is a very good program and we have decided to sponsor this year’s edition, but I want to announce that our foundation wants to make it an annual competition in Kuje.
We are working to assist and sponsor a sports festival sometimes organized by the FCT command in November for all facilities under the command, he added.
However, Metuh urged the inmates to be good to each other and also to stay away from crimes when they leave the center.
Abdul-Rahman Maiyaki, the Controller of Corrections, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command, said the sporting events were part of the correctional programs designed to help the inmates.
Maiyaki said the programs focused in phases on handing out proper reform, rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners, adding that sports was one of the programs.
According to him, it is part of the implementation of the Nigerian correctional circuit where we have catering services, psychological services, medical services and recreational services.
Sport is part of the recreational service and with proper correctional programming we use sport to ensure that the minds of the inmates are relieved and free.
We also use it to build their physique and physical body so that they can be healthy at any time.
They are kept in the cell and some of them may not be used to such an environment but if they go outside to exercise they will feel relieved by their bodies and their moods will run high.
They are engaged in both indoor and outdoor sports activities, but for now this sport is for the Kuje Custodian center and we plan to expand it to all facilities within FCT, he said.
The auditor felt that the sports activities would help shape the aspirations of the detainees so that they could be focused when they regain their freedom.
One of the inmates, who emerged as the tournament’s best player, Anikan Sunday, said his incarceration at the prison center had helped him rediscover himself through football.
Popularly known as the Controller on the pitch, Sunday played for the FC Barcelona team that came out on top in the
He said the sports activities had improved his mind and that of other inmates, adding that he would concentrate better if he was released.
According to him, there were many sponsors who wanted to sponsor his football career once he regains his freedom.
NAN reports that while the FC Barcelona team won the football league, Arsenal came second, Manchester United third and Chelsea fourth and each team received a cash gift from Olisa Metuh.
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