Former inmates, identified as James Etuk and Olawale Dada, who were in Kirikiri Prison, has revealed that they learned the carpentry skills while in prison and decided to have a joint owned furniture company.
The two were speaking on skill acquisition stated that prisons all over the country should be rehabilitated to meet contemporary demands.
While speaking with News Agency of Nigeria, the owners of Alpha Furniture Works Ltd. stated that their seven years experience in Kirikiri prison were not wasted.
Etuk, who was imprisoned for petty stealing and shoplifting in 1987 and spent four years at Kirikiri Prison, said the facility at that time was far better than now.
He also lamented the recurrence of jailbreaks in the country, blaming the administrators of facilities for their nonchalance and inhumane disposition.
“Then, while in prison, our mindset was daily focused on what we could engage ourselves in after leaving the yard that will enable us re-integrate well into the society.
“Because of the good handling of the place by the administrators, the thought of jailbreak was not in any inmate’s mind.
“I improved on the carpentry skills I acquired thereby observation and reading through furniture works albums to meet up with the current trend,” Etuk said.
He stated that the business is challenging but rewarding, Etuk has two apprentice alongside his co-owner.
Dada while speaking said, “I spent three years in prison. I was in the same cell with Etuk and we were pardoned at the same time.
“So we began to practise what we were taught in the prison at construction sites at Festac.”
Dada said that it was after working at various sites for two years that they were able to pool their resources together and rent a shop at Agboju market in Lagos where they made furniture for supply to sellers at Alaba International Market.
He said that many Nigerian youths could be gainfully employed in the informal sector if skills acquisition was prioritized.
Dada took the opportunity to call on the federal government to improve the welfare of prison inmates while promoting skills acquisition.