No fewer than 21 inmates of the Uyo prison on Friday breathed an air of freedom when the lawmaker representing Onna state constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Obong Unwana Nse Essien visited the prison to grace the final of an annual football tournament floated by him for the inmates.
The lawmaker who described his yearly visit to the prison as a gesture motivated by humanistic feelings defrayed the fines totalling 790 thousand naira for prisoners who were convicted with an option of fine but had their stay in the prison prolonged owing to their inability to afford the stipulated fines. He also promised to do same for five female prisoners pending the completion of formalities by the prison. This will bring the total number of inmates whose release has been facilitated by the lawmaker to 54 in the last three years.
Addressing the freed inmates, he advised them never to involve in further acts that may lead to their repeated conviction as the prison yard was never an ideal place to be.
” This is not a good place to reside. Whatever took you guys here, when you leave, don’t come back here again.”
” The only thing you can do for me is to be law abiding in order not to come back here as God will not let you go if you come back here again.”
“Whatever brought you here should never bring you back and I pray that God will help all of you to leave here and become good.,” he warned.
In the final match of the football tournament, Team B defeated Team A by a lone goal to lift the yearly trophy.
Apart from football, other events that featured as side attraction included Draught, Scrabble, Whot, Female Football and Boxing.
Champions in the male and female football event carted home thirty thousand naira while the runners-up got twenty thousand naira each.
Competitors in the side attraction who won gold, silver and bronze medals got cash awards ranging from twenty thousand naira, ten thousand naira and five thousand naira respectively.
Applauding the gesture, the Deputy Controller, Uyo Prison , Mr. Iyawabo Babafemi called on public spirited persons to emulate the lawmaker so as to help in rehabilitating discharged prisoners.
The high point of the event was an exhibition boxing bout between Nse Essien and the Deputy Controller of Uyo Prison.