A Faith-based organization, Prison Fellowship Nigeria (PFN), has brought legal minds and other stakeholders together to deliberate and propose measures on how to break vicious wheel of crime in the country. Addressing participants at a two-day virtual event tagged “National Criminal Justice and Corrections Conference” with the theme “Corrections, Faith- Based Therapies and Communities of Support,” PFN’s Executive Director, Benson Iwuagwu, emphasized the need for social attitudinal change towards those who are involved in or affected by crime.
He further noted that crime was a multi-causal, disruptive and destructive social phenomenon which required collaborative and synergized intervention to solve. In his remarks, the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), expressed the readiness of Lagos State government to ensure that crime would be reduced to the barest minimum in the state. He added that the state government is already implementing a number of initiatives aimed at promoting noncustodian measures through community service unit, plea bargain and in partnership with PFN.
He said: “Crime is indeed a social phenomenon which requires the collaborative intervention to foster strategic holistic approach to the problem. Community supports plays an important role in the rehabilitation process of offenders and government is determined to work with faith based organizations to achieve this.
“We are already implementing a number of initiatives aimed at promoting non-custodian measures through our community service unit, plea bargain and in partnership with PFN. We are working on a comprehensive strategy for restorative justice in the state.
We are also opened to collaboration geared towards improving the criminal justice system”. Also speaking at the event, Controller- General of Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS), Mr. Ja’Afaru Ahmed, said the theme of the conference speaks volume of the contribution of PFN to the administration of criminal justice system in the country. Ahmed who was represented by the Assistant Controller-General of Corrections in charge of Welfare, Odharo Daniel, also lauded the PFN for committing a lot of resources to the core values of the Nigerian Correctional Service since its establishment in 1985. “The PFN has earned and endeared itself to the NCS and the public, especially in the area of re-orientation of the prison inmates.
The PFN has helped in transforming inmates by redirecting their energies towards national development”, he said. The President, Prison Fellowship International (PFI), Andrew Corley, also spoke at the event. Delivering a paper on the topic, “Global partnership and synergy in custodial inmate reform”, Corley noted that restorative justice has a huge potential to heal individuals, families, relationships and unite people. Papers were also presented at the event by Prof. A. B. Williams, the Vice- Chancellor of Covenant University as well as Elerinmo of Erinmo, Osun State, Oba Micheal Odunayo Ajayi.