[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]No fewer than 120 inmates of Ikoyi Prisons have received certificates in vocational training.
They were trained how to make shoes, belts, small chops, produce detergents and disinfectants, among others.
They were divided into event management (decoration, ushering and security); art and craft, production and catering teams.
A non-governmental organisation, Prisoner Rights Advocacy Initiative (RRAI), organised the skills acquisition, business development and value re-orientation workshop.
Ikoyi Prisons Assistant Controller Mr Akeem Saliu said the training was organised to equip the inmates with skills to enable them earn a living on completing their time.
According to him, it was part of the reformatory objectives of the prison in order to prevent inmates from returning to crime when released due to lack of work.
PRAI Director Mr Ahmed Adetola-Kazeem said besides fighting for prisoners’ rights, there was the need to equip inmates for life after prison.
“We have assisted over 100 inmates directly by securing their freedom when they are illegally detained without trial. But the challenge has always been: how do you bring them out and make them stay out? That was why we decided to go beyond litigation.
“Sometimes they return to prison after being released by engaging in crime because some of them don’t have hope or means of survival. We believe the training will equip them with skills to survive outside prison and never to return,” Adetola-Kazeem said.
A lawyer, Jamiu Akolade, who spoke to the inmates on legal requirements for starting a business, said they could come together when they leave the prison to set up a business.
He urged them to register a business name, and register their products with regulatory agencies, such as, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), among others.
Akolade said they must also remember to document their transactions, such as investment terms, and ensure that everything is written down.
An entrepreneur, Olasunkanmi Mustapha, urged the inmates to change their mentality and stop seeing themselves as helpless because they are in prison.
“Be like the popular musician Akon. See your being in prison as an opportunity to turn your life around for good. Don’t see yourselves as inferior to those outside,” he said[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]