Edo First Lady Fostering Hope, Rehabilitation In State Correctional Centers
By Francis Onoiribholo Bureau Chief Benin
Edo State First Lady, Betsy Obaseki, has expressed a deep commitment to granting amnesties and freedom to deserving prison inmates during her visit to the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Oko, Benin City, on the occasion of Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Anniversary.
This annual visit, a tradition undertaken by the First Lady, underscores her dedication to the welfare and reformation of inmates within the state.
Mrs Obaseki who was represented at the event by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Peter Okonkwo, emphasized the government’s keen interest in granting pardons and amnesties to inmates who have demonstrated genuine repentance and correction.
She encouraged prison officials to collate the names of eligible inmates and follow due process to submit these names to the appropriate authorities.
She assured attendees that she would oversee the process personally, reiterating the government’s focus on fostering hope and aiding in the rehabilitation of individuals within the correctional system.
According to her, “The government is positively inclined in this direction and granting freedom not only gives hope but also facilitates the process of correction and reformation.
“When inmates know that good conduct can lead to reduced sentences or even amnesty, they are motivated to improve themselves.”
Responding, the Controller of the Nigeria Correctional Service in Edo State, Philomena Ehimenoa, expressed gratitude for the governor’s support and shared her optimism about the promise made by the government.
“The governor has assured me that he will act on this matter, and I have already compiled the names and sent them to him. I urge everyone to pray for him to fulfill his promise and bring positive change to the lives of these individuals,” she remarked.
Assistant Controller General, Friday Ovie also addressed the inmates directly, urging them to embrace rehabilitation opportunities.
“Live up to expectations and shun vices detrimental to your reformation and reintegration into society. Your commitment to genuine change can make a significant difference in your lives and contribute positively to our community.”
A representative of the inmates who also spoke during the event, acknowledged the First Lady’s influential role.
“We believe that through your good office and your proximity to our father, His Excellency, the governor, you can advocate for the release and pardon of inmates who have genuinely repented.
“Your support can transform lives, including those of individuals like Monday Ogum who has been on death row in the past twenty years, whose story is marked by redemption and transformation.”
The First Lady’s visit not only reaffirms the government’s dedication to criminal justice reform but also signifies a renewed hope for many inmates striving to rebuild their lives and reintegrate into society.