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UK moves to partner Imo government on decongestion, training of inmates, personnel

By Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri
22 October 2021   |   2:40 am
A United Kingdom (UK) team specialising in prisons reform, led by the Director of Trade and Investment, African House, London, Mr. Emmanuel Findoro Obasi

Hope Uzodimma

A United Kingdom (UK) team specialising in prisons reform, led by the Director of Trade and Investment, African House, London, Mr. Emmanuel Findoro Obasi, has arrived in Imo State to assess ways of embarking on prisons reform, including decongestion and vocational skills training for inmates and personnel of the correctional service centres in the state.

The team also assured Governor Hope Uzodimma of working with the state government to actualise it. Imo, Kaduna States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), he said, were chosen for the pilot programme.

The assurances were given during a courtesy visit of the team to the governor at the Government House, Owerri.

Obasi said that similar reform had been carried out in some African countries, including The Gambia, recalling that President Muhammadu Buhari had initiated it when he visited the UK three years ago to make the appeal.

According to Obasi, the programme is a humanitarian one that will bring about positive reforms in the correctional centres.

Uzodimma, while receiving the team, accompanied by his deputy, Prof. Placid Njoku; the Chief of Staff, Government House, Owerri, Nnamdi Anyaehie; the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Charles O. C. Akaolisa and other top government functionaries, said he was glad that Imo State was chosen as one of the pilot states, assuring the UK team of working in partnership to decongest and reform the correctional centres in the state and other states.

He said: “The Imo State government will provide the necessary support and logistics towards realising the objective of the work.”

Also, while commending them and other global partners, Uzodimma urged them to entrench a sound justice delivery system in the country, appealing to them not to relent until they actualise their mission in full.

Meanwhile, members of the team, Mr. Tim Bission and Matthew Cassini, noted that they had expanded their work across Africa, providing legal training in conjunction with the various communities, inmates and Ministry of Justice of the pilot states.

They disclosed that their programme on justice delivery had positively affected over 50,000 inmates, out of which more than 20,000 were set free while others were trained on some vocational skills.

The team members commended the governor for granting them an audience.

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