Ten inmates of three Custodian Centres in the state on Wednesday breathed the air of freedom, courtesy of the Forum of Political Appointees of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Youth Development.
Executive Assistant to the Governor on Youth Development, Honourable Innocent Esewezie, led the appointees to the Kwale, Warri and Agbor Correction Centres where the ten convicted inmates with the Option of Fine were let go.
At the Kwale Centre, with a capacity for 262 inmates, but where 317 were in custody, Junior Okoro, 24; Obi Otunuya, 23; and Elijah Victory, 32; had their fines paid by the Forum and were released.
Ese Moses, Oghenekparubor Apele, David Ogbawudu and David Ordu, benefitted from the Forum’s gesture at the Warri Correction Centre where 1,281 inmates were in custody as against the 307 originally meant for the Centre, while Akumabor Precious, Okoro John and Ugo Samuel had their fines paid at the Agbor Correction Centre.
The Executive Assistant said the gesture was in tandem with the youth development programmes of the Okowa administration, which the Forum believed should be extended to indigent persons in custody.
Honourable Esewezie said the idea was not to encourage the convicts to go back to crime, pointing out that the Forum would keep in touch with the freed with a view to meaningfully engaging them and quickening their integration into the society.
He warned the beneficiaries against going back to crime and advised them to turn a new leaf of life.
The Deputy Comptroller of Correction in charge of the Warri Correction Centre, Sir Solomon Airiohavodion, the Assistant Comptroller of Correction for the Kwale Centre, Mr Felix Madumere and his Agbor Centre counterpart, Mr Ozili Emmanuel, commended Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for his youth development initiatives and thanked the Forum for its humanitarian gesture, which they said would ease the burden of congestion in the Custodian Centres.
The Executive Assistant was accompanied by a Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Youth Development, Barrister Ikechukwu Maduemezie, a Special Assistant on Youth Development, Honourable Ifeanyi Nwaezeigwe, among others.