The popular quote “children are leaders of tomorrow” sounds like an irony when one sees the population of boys resident at the juvenile centre in Lagos Nigeria and it begs the question “what could have exposed such young minds to crimes and other rebellious activities at such a tender phase of their lives“.
The Special Correctional Centre for Boys Oregun is home to over 100 boys from different ethical and cultural backgrounds as well as states of the federation. In Nigeria, it was established to isolate juveniles who have committed crimes but are not able to be sent to main prisons because of their ages. Contrary to popular opinion, however, not all the boys at the centre have committed crimes, some have only been a product of homelessness and others, wayward dispositions to their biological parents or guardians.
The purpose of the centre is to correct and rehabilitate the boys so they no longer have interests in crimes but become intentional citizens of Nigeria willing to make a positive impact on society.
With their ages ranging from 10 to 17 years old, it is obvious that a lot of changes can still be attained towards changing their course in life and this is what we are committed to achieving with the boys during our visit.
Our visit was a pilot project for our skill acquisition programmes targeted at those in prisons, juvenile centres and those who have just been released from any of the institutions. Our goal is to ensure that the time spent behind bars by those in correctional facilities is productive with skills that can enable them to earn a sustainable lifestyle after serving their time. The skills they acquired will be harnessed as a wealth creation means for them while they may also find it difficult to secure gainful employment.
During our visit on Friday, 17th December 2022, the students at the centre were trained in the crafts of Bead-making, Paper-craft and Tie and Dye. They were so full of happiness and during our interviews afterwards, we learnt our kind of visitation and training is rare in their facilities. This, for us, was a sign of impact which encouraged us to make a robust plan to continually visit them and other similar institutions across Nigeria.