Onesimus Lauds CU Chancellor’s Patronage, Seeks More Support
The Chancellor, Covenant University, Dr. David O. Oyedepo, has been commended for his patronage of the life recovery programme, Onesimus.
Representatives of stakeholders in the programme, expressed the appreciation when they paid a courtesy call on the CU Vice-Chancellor, Professor AAA. Atayero, in his office on Friday, September 30, 2016.
Introducing the Onesimus team to the Vice-Chancellor, the Team Leader, Onesimus, Barrister Benson Iwuagwu, said the stakeholders, comprised of the Prison Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), the Nigerian Prison Services (NPS), the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and Covenant University, have come to congratulate Professor Atayero as the third Vice-Chancellor of Covenant University to sustain the Onesimus project.
The project, he explained, is targeted towards re-habilitation of inmates in the Nigerian Prisons to ensure national development and peaceful co-existence. “We are building a community of reconciliation for those affected by crime; this is where Covenant University is playing a fundamental role. Covenant University comes in by addressing psychological issues with programme founded on strong philosophy and curriculum,” he said.
Onesimus, Iwuagwu noted, is not just thinking about people in prison and when they leave, but concerned about their need in prison itself. And while seeking the continued support of Covenant University, he revealed that Onesimus wants restorative justice resuscitated, including the setting up of an afterthought structure and provision of mentors.
Iwuagwu seized the opportunity to extend an invitation to the CU Vice-Chancellor to visit the Kirikiri Prisons, which he said would be clarion call to other Vice-Chancellors.
Earlier on, Professor Abiodun Gesinde, who leads the CU Onesimus group, said the university is committing a lot of money to the project. “We develop curriculum; we go to Kirikiri to teach, not only theory but psychological fellowship,” he said.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor AAA. Atayero, in his response, said it’s not by happenstance that CU is partnering with others on the Onesimus programme, as God has given the Chancellor, Dr. David O. Oyedepo the mandate to liberate people from oppression, and one of the avenues through which he does it is education.
He acknowledged Onesimus’ efforts at giving prison inmates a new beginning. But what is more important, according him, is how to prevent people from going to prison. “That is talking about having good governance,” he said.
Professor Atayero assured the Onesimus team that Covenant University will do more for the programme.
The Onesimus project strives on the active involvement of all stakeholders bringing to the fore different skills and interventions such as technical skills, psychological interventions, entrepreneurial interventions and leveraging on reformation rather than punitive actions to help ex-inmates to re-integrate into the society with sustainable source of livelihood.