The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) has convoked no fewer than 11 graduates and matriculated 50 fresh students in its 2022/2023 Academic Year at Enugu Custodial Special Study Centre.
In an address on Thursday at the 12th convocation and matriculation at the centre, the Controller of Corrections in Enugu State, Mr. Nicholas Obiakor, charged the students who are inmates to ensure that their higher education and academic discipline reflects in all they do.
Obiakor, represented by an Assistant Controller of Corrections, Mr. James Abonyi, appreciated the Controller General (C-G) of Corrections, Mr. Haliru Nababa, for providing the platform and enabling environment for educational reformation and transformation of inmates.
He noted that educational attainment and pursuit remained the best thing any inmate would want to achieve, especially as it is done at no cost to the inmate as far as he or she indicates interest and demonstrates commitment.
“I want to commend our amiable C-G Corrections, Mr. Haliru Nababa, that turned the correctional centre from punitive ground to a place of exceptional reformation that is an envy of all as highly educationally qualified students are churned up here yearly.
“I want to appreciate the Commander-in-Chief and the President, who through NOUN has provided a free-of-charge learning platform for all inmates wishing to enroll for university education as well as non-governmental organisations, foundations and individuals that have supported inmates’ education.
“For our students, I want you to take advantage of this golden opportunity to get to the top and be the best in your chosen academic endeavour even as I urge you to shun vices and exam malpractices but be highly focused,” he said.
Issuing out the degree certificates to the graduands, the Vice-Chancellor of NOUN, Prof. Olufemi Peters, congratulated both the graduates and their matriculating counterparts for choosing a path that “Will guaranty their future fast uplift in the society”.
Peters, represented by the National Coordinator for All Special Study Centres, Mrs. Modupe Adesina, said that 66 inmates of different custodial centres in the country graduated this year with Enugu Custodial Special Study Centre having 11.
“You should take advantage of this opportunity provided by the Federal Government through the NOUN, as you can take your academic pursuit to the Doctorate level without paying a dime.
“It is clear with your academic reforms and higher educational attainment; your future is very bright and the sky is your starting point for your greatness and exploits in life when you leave here,” he said.
Earlier, Deputy Controller of Corrections (DCC), Mr. Kelvin Iloafonsi, congratulated the students, adding “Gaining admission into NOUN is no mean feat, especially for someone in incarceration”.
Iloafonsi, who is the Educational Desk Officer of NOUN at the Enugu Custodial Special Study Centre, noted “NOUN is the only University in Nigeria where you cannot cut corners to be admitted because admission is done online with due process and procedures”.
“Matriculating students should shun all forms of social vices such as cultism, robbery, kidnapping, fraud and nefarious activities which can mar their bright future when you regain your freedom because it brings absolutely nothing but destruction and annihilation,” he said.
Iloafonsi appreciated the C-G of Corrections, Mr. Haliru Nababa for making the programme possible and providing an educational reformation platform for inmates and the Vice-Chancellor of NOUN, Prof. Olufemi Peters, for approving special study centres and instituting tuition-free academic pursuit.
“Our warmest regards to Isaac Blessing Foundation, CAPIO and all our partnering NGOs. We owe great thanks to Enugu NOUN Centre Director, Prof. Alexander Onyia, and Mrs Modupe Adesina.
“We also want to appreciate the Correctional Service Special Study Centre Director, Mr. Francis Enobore, for his guidance and support,” he said.
One of the graduates, Mr. Eze Utama, commended the Federal Government, C-G of Corrections, Mr. Haliru Nababa, and Vice-Chancellor of NOUN, Prof. Olufemi Peters, for providing quality education free of charge at their door-steps and taking special interest in their reformation.
The highlights of the event were the oath-taking by matriculating students, which was administered by Enugu NOUN Centre Director, Prof. Alexandar Onyia, represented by Mr. Matthew Egede; cutting of the convocation and matriculation cakes and cultural displays.