The Islamic Humanitarian Society of Nigeria has appealed to the Federal Government to urgently address the issue of prison congestion to stem the incidences of jailbreaks in the country.
Alhaji AbdurRasheed Okenla, National Coordinator of the society, made the appeal on Sunday at the Walimotul Qur’an (graduation from Qur’anic study) of some Muslim inmates at Ikoyi Prison, Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 34 inmates graduated from the programme after undergoing three years of Qur’anic study organised by the Muharam Sisters, an NGO.
Okenla said that overcrowding in the prisons was responsible for the frequent jail breaks in the country.
Mr Julius Ezugwu, Deputy Controller of Ikoyi Prison, said that the facility, which was built to accommodate 800 inmates, now housed about 2,494 inmates.
According to him, there are 2060 inmates awaiting trial while convicts account for the balance of 434 inmates.
He called on the federal government to strengthen the judiciary for quick dispensation of justice so as to reduce the number of awaiting trial inmates.
The controller also urged government to provide more logistics to ease the movement of inmates to and from the courts.
He commended the Muharam Sisters for organising the Qur’anic studies and for assisting the inmates with donation of food, medical and education materials.
Ezugwu appealed to other religious organisations to emulate the group by extending hands of fellowship to inmates to make them more useful to society after regaining freedom.
Earlier in a lecture, the Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr Abdulhakeem Abdullateef, said ignorance of God’s words was major reason for the killings in the name of religion.
The title of the lecture was: “The Role of a Glorious Quran in our Nation”.
“The role of Qur’an is to tell you about yourself, about your God and about what He wants you to do.
“Anytime you recite the Qur’an, ensure you understand the meaning and put it into practice because doing so makes your recitation meaningful.
“People should read the Qur’an and try to understand the meaning; it is the word of God.
“Many people are working off-sight with God by expecting the result of their prayers without work; that is off-sight,’’ the commissioner said
According to him, the Qur’an does not address the Muslims alone but the whole of mankind, to do good at all times and love one another.
The chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Rafiu Ebiti, remarked that with better knowledge, the inmates could be better persons in the society in future.
“The more people have knowledge, the less they will go into crime; knowledge is the key.
“Religious knowledge is essential as it will instil the fear of God in them,’’ he said.
Alhaja Sekinat Yusuf, the leader of Muharam Sisters, said the group organised the Qur’anic study to enable the inmates improve their knowledge about God.
Yusuf said the group had over the years assisted inmates with skills acquisition and writing ordinary level examinations to enable them pursue higher education through the National Open University.
Highlights of the event were recitations from the Holy Qur’an, lectures as well as presentation of copies of the Qur’an and certificates to the inmates. (NAN)