Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Controller of Corrections in Enugu State, Mr Nicholas Obiako, says the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) focuses on sports for reformation, happiness and checking of vices among inmates.
Obiako said this on Wednesday at the finals of the month-long Chief Emeka Okoye Football Competition held at Enugu Maximum Custodial Centre in Enugu State.
He said that the sports reformation and rehabilitation marshaled out by the Controller-General of NCoS, Mr Haliru Nababa, was yielding great impact in keeping the inmates away from vices and trying to escape from the custodial centre.
According to him, the football competition is one of the recreational activities put together by the NCoS Command to see that the inmates work together and vent their anger and energy towards the positive pursuit of becoming champions.
“This yearly activity (football competition) makes them feel happy, make friends within a month or two months as well as make them think less of planning evil.
“We also have plans to up activities and stage competitions in other sports such as table tennis, badminton, volleyball, Ludo and Chess, which will help inmates that have passion and talents for them to develop further.
“The constant engagement in these sporting activities and games will help their proficiency in them and prepare them to take up these sports as a career when they finish their service here,” he said.
Obiako, who is the Commander of NCoS Enugu State Command, said that football scouts, administrators and international officials are already penciling down talented football players among them to engage them once they serve their terms and are freed.
Speaking, Mr Sunday Oyakhire, Deputy Controller of Corrections in-charge of Enugu Maximum Custodial Centre, appreciated Controller-General of NCoS and the Controller of Corrections in the State for given sports reformation a strategic attention.
Oyakhire said that the competition was meant to enliven the spirits of the inmates and make them to be part of the ongoing festive mood, adding: “Notwithstanding being in corrections, they are also humans that want to enjoy the season.”
“The month-long competition is also a means to engage the inmates positively and keep everybody in the custodial centre relaxed as well as ensure that security is intact this season,” he said.
He, however, appealed to public-spirited individuals and philanthropists to invest in the reformation of the inmates through various sports by sponsoring sporting activities and competitions within the centre.
The competition, which kicked off on Dec. 11, 2023, had six teams which included; Controller of Corrections; Deputy Controller of Corrections; Emeka Okoye; CAPIO, NOWAS, and Freedom-at-Last teams.
In the third-place match, NOWAS team defeated CAPIO by 5 – 3 on penalty kick after 90 minutes of goalless draw by both teams.
In the final match, Emeka Okoye team defeated Deputy Controller of Corrections team 5 – 4 on penalty kick after 90 minutes of 1 – 1 draw by both teams.
The winning team, Emeka Okoye team, went home with a giant trophy and N100,000 cash; while the runners up, Deputy Controller of Corrections team, got a trophy and N60,000 and third place winner, NOWAS team, grabbed N40,000.
There were monetary prizes for best player of the competition, best goalkeeper, highest goal scorer and best defensive player among others.