By Deborah Oladejo, Osogbo
A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Anchor Heritage, on Tuesday donated food items and other items to the inmates at the Nigerian Correctional Centre in Ilesa, Osun State.
The NGO also mounted an infrared thermometer at the entrance of the prison custody as means of containing the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Executive Director of the NGO, Mr Bidemi Oladipupo explained that the gesture was part of its ‘Spread the Love’ Initiative, a move to show love to those behind bars and also to sensitise them on preventive measures to contain coronavirus.
According to Oladipupo, the NGO had trained the inmates of the centre on how to manufacture paints and in collaboration with Anchor Heritage, the inmates had painted the perimeter fence of the Ilesa centre.
He said: “this presentation of items tagged: ‘Spread the Love, Stop the Virus’ came up because since the COVID-19 lockdown, our Organisation had not been able to be accessing the correctional centres and we are using this donation of items to let them know that they are still loved by us.
“We have also trained inmates on decorations, bead making and tying of headgears. At this Ilesa Correctional Centre, we recently painted the perimeter fence after training the inmates on how to produce paints.
“This initiative has gone round in other correctional centres. We also painted the perimeter fence in Omu-Aran, Mandala and Badagry prisons among others,” Oladipupo added.
He said the organisation is currently handling 112 cases of inmates in various courts adding that it has been able to secure freedom for 93 inmates and that some of them had been empowered.
The items donated to the 747 male and female inmates of the prison custody included forty bags of semo, 17 bags of slippers, toothbrushes, toothpastes, soaps, toiletries for ladies, hair caps, creams and nose masks.
Receiving the items, Mr O.J. Saudje, the Officer in Charge of Ilesa Correctional Centre, commended Anchor Heritage for its humanitarian services to the inmates of the prison.
Saudje said some inmates had been discharged and acquitted through the efforts of the organization.
He called on other Nigerians and groups to emulate the NGO saying it has been giving to those that could not pay it back.
“I want to thank you (Anchor Heritage) so much on behalf of the inmates. This is not the first time you are doing this. This organisation is catering for people behind the bar. Your effort will not be in vain. Some have been discharged through your efforts. Some Nigerians are only giving to those who can pay them back but you have chosen inmates who can’t pay you back. We are grateful,” he said.