By Our Reporter
Oyo Central Senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Bisi Ilaka, on Wednesday, donated table tennis facility to inmates of the Agodi prisons in Ibadan, the state capital.
Speaking with newsmen before delivering the facility, Ilaka said the donation was a fulfillment of the promise he had made to the inmates while leaving them a few weeks ago.
Ilaka was remanded in Agodi prison for about 18 days on account of a shooting tragedy that led to loss of two lives at the palace of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi, during the recently celebrated Oranyan festival.
“Having spent a bit of time in that establishment, I saw that the prison, which was probably built in 1894, not much has happened to the facility since its establishment. The people in the prison have been by and large forgotten. They are inmates on remand as well as sent sentenced prisoners who have spent time under lock and key.
“There are no recreation facilities in the prison. Modern jails would at least have certain kinds of facilities. This goes to the heart of what the prison system is supposed to be. Is prison about rehabilitation, reformation, retribution? I don’t think we have answered those questions as a country.
“Some of the inmates there committed no crime whatsoever. They have just been locked up. These people are going to be re-introduced into the society and therefore there must be some kinds of facilities for them to interact of a social level, recreational facilities for them to learn about sportsmanship, gamesmanship and so on.
“We should make them feel they are part of this human race. So, I thought that in as much as the regime can be quite inhospitable, the least I could do is to try and put a little bit of human face to it.
“When I was on my way out, they said they had been clamouring for table tennis facilities. They said they wanted a little bit of sports. The place is a really small place. Even when they play football, they play monkey post, three aside. So, there isn’t anything in terms of sports. So, they did ask me for a table tennis and I gave my word that I would secure one for them and I did.
“I met people who have been incarcerated for being at the wrong place at the wrong time and were picked up and have been languishing in prison for two years. I also met the bankers that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) charged to court for allegedly converting dirty naira notes to personal use,” he said.