A top journalist in Kwara State, Dare Akogun, has called on well meaning Nigerians to always look for ways to contribute to the wellbeing of prisoners and the prison service in general, saying that the government cannot do it alone.
Akogun, who is a Senior News Editor with Ilorin-based Sobi FM, made this call during his birthday celebration with inmates of the Mandala Medium Custodian Center Ilorin, where he fed 470 inmates and donated clothing and other items to them.
The journalist, alongside his brother, Abdul Rasheed Akogun, another journalist, were remanded at the Custodian Center in October over allegation of defamation brought against them by a Kwara State government official.
The charge was later withdrawn after the duo had spent six days at the Custodian centre.
Accompanied by friends and colleagues, Akogun said that prison inmates are also part of the society that must not be discriminated against, rather, shown love and compassion and be well catered for.
He said, “When I was here in October this year, so many people took their time to visit me in this place, and their words of encouragement helped me a great deal to cope during the period I was here.
”My time inside here made me realize that life inside the prison is a lesson that can only be learned only if it’s experienced.
”I decided to celebrate my birthday with you guys in reciprocation of the love I was shown while I was here, and the support of well-meaning Nigerians who supported this cause with donations that have made today possible.
“I want to use this opportunity to call on well-meaning Nigerians to always remember prison inmates not only in times of celebration, but every time they believe they have whatever it takes to support them and make their stay in prison conductive.”
In his remarks, the Officer in Charge of Mandala Correctional Centre, Assistant Controller of Corrections, ACC, Oyedele Asiyanbi, commended Akogun and his friends for remembering the inmates despite their tight schedules.
Asiyanbi said that private individuals can do more to ensure that prisons are conducive for inmates, as the seclusion is meant to reform them to be good citizens whenever they are released back into the society.
“I want to urge you to use your medium to enlighten the people and call on well meaning Nigerians on the need to inculcate the habit of visiting the prisons for motivational talks and donating items that will make the prison conducive for inmates,” he said.