No fewer than 35 inmates from Ikoyi Prison in Lagos have registered to write the 2016 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination.
Vincent Ubi, the Controller of Prisons, Lagos State Command of the Nigeria Prisons Service, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Lagos.
Ubi said the inmates from the Ikoyi Prisons School would sit for the Computer-Based Test mode conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board.
NAN recalls that more inmates are taking part in the examination this year, when compared to the 28 that sat for the examination in 2015.
He said: “The education of these inmates is of top priority to us.
“Like I always tell them each time I go for routine checks in the prisons, their being incarcerated does not mean all hopes are lost.
“I usually remind them of the importance of education and the tremendous benefits that come with it, irrespective of the circumstance anyone might find him or herself.
“Now, with the UTME very much around the corner, we have been preparing these people fully in all the subjects and they have also improved on their level of computer literacy.”
Ubi told NAN he had drafted his officers in the facilities to assist in teaching and preparing the inmates for the examination.
Ubi commended the prison officials for their commitment toward ensuring improved performance of the inmates in the examination.
He said: “I am proud of the commitment of my officers in the prison facilities in providing conducive teaching and learning environment.
“The Prison Service has one of the highest numbers of educated personnel in terms of qualification.
“So, we cash in on that by drafting some of them to serve as teachers in the facilities, aside other volunteer teachers that come from outside to assist.
“With all these in place, I will like to say that the performance of inmates has been very encouraging.”
Ubi said all logistics required for the smooth conduct of the examination in the facility were in good shape and intact.
According to the prison boss, more inmates are showing interest in furthering their education.
He said this was with the hope that when they eventually gain freedom, the inmates would be able to contribute their quota to the larger society.
Ubi said this was evident in the increased enrolment into schools in the facilities.
The controller said the trend was not unconnected with the performance of their fellow inmates who had sat and performed well in the same examination.
He said: “Many of them are driven by the performance of their colleagues who have sat for the same examination and subsequently furthered their education at the National Open University of Nigeria located in the facilities.
“Some of the inmates from the NOUN have posted impressive performance at the end of their studies.
“Of note is one of the inmates who graduated in 2015 with first class and is currently teaching other inmates in the prison facilities.
“Such persons, if they are on life sentence, we often make a case to their respective state governments and their prerogative of mercy officer will take it from there to recommend such inmates for pardon.
“We have always assured the inmates of our maximum support in the area of their education and general welfare.”
In another interview, the Principal of Ikoyi Prison School, Ibikunle Idris, said 40 inmates were initially prepared for the UTME.
Idris, however, said because of intervention of justice, five of the prospective candidates, who were on the awaiting trial list, had been discharged and acquitted.