Headfort Foundation, an NGO, has sensitised the inmates of Oregun Boys Special Correctional Centre to their fundamental human rights, privileges and freedom before the law.
Mrs Oluyemi Orija, Executive Director of the Foundation, stated this while speaking with journalists after sensitization to the Special Correctional Centre for Boys in Oregun, Lagos and the Special Correctional Center for girls in Idiaraba, Lagos.
Orija spoke on the sidelines of the sensitisation workshop, noting that it was a continuation of the project “My Rights, My Freedom,” launched in March to sensitise Nigerians to their fundamental human rights in their language.
Orija said that the foundation was established to democratise access to justice for all, especially the vulnerable and the most abandoned in society.
According to Orija, the foundation identified the importance of language in making sure no one is left behind in accessing justice and education on fundamental human rights.
“We have translated chapters of the Nigerian Constitution on fundamental human rights in the Nigerian languages. I would go to communities, schools everywhere to teach people, based on the language they understand.”
She said that the foundation realised that most of the children in the correctional facilities didn’t understand what was going on in courts because they were children ages 7, 10 to 17 years.
“That is why we saw the need for us to come here and educate them so they can also ask questions based on the cases they are facing,” Orija said.
She said the foundation had also partnered with other organisations to offer psychosocial services to the inmates.
She said that the foundation had collaborated with a group of medical personnel to counsel the inmates on mental health issues.
The executive director said the foundation’s ex-inmate support initiative had helped them to integrate back into society after their release from the correctional centre.
She noted that the foundation had also helped 332 inmates out of correctional centres.
Speaking further about the works of the organization, Orija said “We give free access to justice to vulnerable people in our society especially people in prison, we give them free legal representation and since inception in 2019 we have helped over 300 persons out of prison. In our experience doing that we realized that a lot of Nigerians, the educated and non-educated ones really do not understand what that rights are and importantly how to enforce it should those right be infringed upon.
“Instead of just representing and taking them out of prison with ignorance in them, it is also essential for us to educate them on their fundamental human right, this, in turn, will help them to prevent crime,” she added.
Orija however noted that funding had remained a consistent challenge in executing most of the programmes outlined by the foundation.
She, however, expressed gratitude to individuals and corporate organisations who believed in the vision and mission of the foundation and had been a great pillar of support to the NGO.
Partners in the project included Public Interest Law Partnership and Raised for Excellence Foundation.