Inmates of the Jos prisons have appealed to the Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang to give them amnesty promising that they have changed from their negative past. The inmates made the appeal when a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Aids for Women in Prisons (AFWIP) led by its coordinator Mrs. Deborah Chris and the Special Adviser to Governor Jang on Youth Matters, Mr. Samuel Kwamtur Vondip paid a working visit to Jos prisons at the weekend.
About 90% of the 608 inmates of Jos prison are suspects arrested in the course of various ethno-religious conflicts in the state since 2008 most of whom have convicted while some are awaiting trial. There are seven female in all.
One of the inmates who spoke on behalf of the rest said, “We are seeking this opportunity to appeal to the Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang to give us amnesty by setting us free from detention.
“We have realized our mistakes, we have learned our lessons and we are now reformed citizens. Majority of us have shown remorse, the prison officials can bear us witness since they are closer to us.
“We appeal for government pardon and we promise to return to the society as agents of peace, we have realized the importance of freedom and peace having spent years, months respectively.” Earlier in a remark, Special Adviser on Youth Matter, Vondip said, “The visit was facilitated by AFWIP in collaboration with the Plateau State Government and we have decided to visit the inmates as a show of concern to your condition here most especially as 90% of you in this prison are youths.”
Vondip said, “Government is not happy that you are here because you are supposed to be out there as free citizens of the country. Government also thinks the awareness of peace that is being preached to youths in the society has to be extended to you also because government considers you as part and parcel of the citizens of the state.”
“Most especially, government is concerned about your welfare here and saw the need to come and see things so as to see areas of intervention and makes your stay here a little bit comfortable.” He told the inmates that, “Government needs your cooperation to build peace in the state and to also encourage you not to see your moment in the prison as hopeless, God has destiny for you to be better Nigerians tomorrow, this is just a transformation process in your life.”
In his welcome remarks, Deputy Controller of the Jos Prisons, Yan Peter Tenkwa said, “The prison officials are pleased with such visit because it has a psychological effect on the inmates as they feel a sense of belonging and feel being loved by government and the society.” Tenkwa therefore called on government and individuals to visit the inmates regularly so as to help facilitate the transformation process which the inmates are passing through.
Facilitator of the visit and Coordinator of AFWIP Mrs. Deborah Chris advised the inmates not to feel abandoned or rejected by the society because government and society also need them and will do all they could to alleviate their living conditions in the prison. While presenting thirty mattresses and thirty blankets to the inmates, Chris and Vondip promised to convey the demands of the inmates to relevant authorities for consideration.