By Praise Necherem
A 28-year old man, Ifeanyi Onyemaenu, has expressed his willingness to continue his tutorial classes with the inmates in the Custodial Centre, Awka, Anambra state, even after his release.
Onyemaenu, a native of Nibo, Awka South local government area of the state and a graduate of Petroleum Engineering from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, was on awaiting trial at the centre for alleged murder before he was granted bail.
He noted that he was leaving the center with mixed feelings in view of the impact he made in the lives of the inmates during his short stay in the prison.
Speaking with Orient Daily shortly after he was granted bail, Onyemaenu said his conscience would not allow him dump the inmates as a result of his exit from the centre.
He said that, although he was excited over the freedom he was about experiencing after a period of time, but had wished to continue with the good work if provided with the facilities to further develop the inmates.
The young engineer however hinted that he had already concluded plans with one of the friends he made while at the custodial centre to continue with the tutorial classes with the inmates.
He said, “I’ve made an arrangement with a friend that I met here who left last week. His name is Coach and he handled English language. I see him as one who will impact on the inmates further.
“We intend to enroll in a charity visit to the Awka Custodial Centre and he agreed with me. He is just waiting for me to come out.
“I equally made arrangements with the Madona 7 who were here that as soon as I’m out, and get stabilised, the visit will be organsed here so the inmates won’t lose hope.
“I believe that tomorrow is pregnant for those determined to attain greater heights in life,” he added.
The visibly elated man said his major area of specialisation was mathematics which he taught the inmates throughout his sojourn in the center.
He continued, “One of the positive impacts I made here was promoting education among the inmates.
“We helped to ensure inmates here acquired the junior WAEC certificate and some senior WAEC.
“The last we wrote is already out at the welfare unit and their performances are encouraging. We’re developing the inmates’ mentality to understand that prison can’t be their last bus stop.There’s a brighter and greater future ahead.
“So many people will be elevated from illiteracy. They will be happy they are leaving the prison better than they came.
“They will tell others that the prison yard is not just a place for limited freedom, but a place to learn, get reformed and rehabilitated.
“Those who believe that they can still make it we encourage them. Age can only be a number but not a barrier to what you want to achieve in life.”
Narrating his experience at the center, Onyemaenu said he nearly took his life the first day he arrived the prison, but thanked God for intervening through the deputy comptroller of corrections, incharge ofAwka Custodial Centre, Mr. Edwin Akabueze, who he described as a father.
He said, “I had a case that landed me here. But I thank God that I’m now a free man. It’s something I least expected, but it happened because Satan struck.
“This place is not an easy place to be. When I first came here, I wanted to take my life because to me, the predicament was bigger than me.
“But I thank God for my lovely father who quickly came to my rescue. That evening, I mixed dettol and drank which started disturbing my stomach. But with the help of my father here, the clinic came and gave me some medication before I got myself again.
“I’m celebrating both victory and freedom today. I always prayed for freedom, but never knew it would be that soon.
“But I believe that where a mistake is done, amendments and corrections are effected. I strongly believe the corrections have been taken.
“I’ve been praying for freedom and expecting it, but never knew it would be today. I appreciate God for granting me the freedom.”