A non-governmental organisation, Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), has treated and rehabilitated 65 mentally sick inmates of Enugu, Nsukka and Orji River Prisons in Enugu State.
A statement signed by the Media Consultant to PRAWA, Abdulkadir Ahmed Ibrahim, said 69 mentally-ill prisoners were handed over to the organisation for rehabilitation after a recent visit to the Prisons by the Chief Judge and other High Court Judges of the State.
According to the statement, the Executive Director of PRAWA, Dr. Uju Agomoh, said 65 of them were treated at psychiatric hospitals and taught various vocational and technical skills to become self and gainfully employed.
They have since been reunited with their families and reintegrated into the society while the remaining Four are still receiving medical attention at the hospital.
She maintained that it is illegal to detain a mentally sick person or imprison those referred to as “civil lunatics” but they should be given medical attention first and all statutorily processes should be followed in handling cases involving mentally challenged suspected criminals.
PRAWA has also started a training programme on ‘Alternative to Violence” at some Nigerian prisons for the Inmates, Welfare Officers, Psychologists and other Wardens.
The pilot programme of the project took off in July at Enugu, Nsukka and Orji River Prisons in Engu State and later at Kurmawa prison in Kano state and Calabar prison in Cross River state.
The programme being conducted by PRAWA in conjunction with another NGO called Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) Nigeria and the Nigerian Prisons Service is aimed at inculcating the virtues of peaceful coexistence and harmonious relationship on the prison inmates aimed at reforming them to become peaceful and industrious citizens after their jail terms.
It is also expected that Prison officials attending the programme will continue with the training among themselves and the inmates.
Agomoh and the National Coordinator of AVP, Mr. Iyke Chiemeka, decried the increase of crime in Nigeria particularly by the youths and reiterated the commitment of their organisations to partner the authorities to prevent, reduce and eradicate all forms of violence in the society.