By Ifeoma Ejiofor
Eight prisoners from Nnewi Correctional Center have every cause to give glory to God for regaining their freedom after being remanded for nearly two years because of their inability to pay their fines as ordered by the court.
The eight inmates from the Northern part of Nigeria regained their freedom through the effort of a Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Humphrey Nwajoko (Fr. Gbarie) of the ‘Everyday with Jesus and Mary Adoration Ministry Holy Trinity Parish, Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, Anambra State.
The inmates include; Sani Musa, Hammandada Adamu, Suleman Kabiru, Paul Martins, Jonathan Haruna, Emmanuel Magaji, Salihu Ali and Ibrahim James.
Fr. Gbarie as he is fondly called by his congregation said he was moved with passion to assist the inmates when some officials of the Correctional Center approached him for assistance.
“When the wardens approached me that there are some inmates who have been imprisoned for close to two years due to their inability to pay the fines ordered by the court and that they neither have anybody to help them nor relations to contact.
“I was touched remembering the words of Jesus, I was in prison you visited me, then I moved into action. It was not really easy for me to carry the responsibility as times are very hard but I believe that for God to have brought it to my knowledge through the prison wardens I had no choice.” Fr Gbarie explained.
Rev. Fr Nwajoko pointed out that he had earlier assisted some freed inmates with phones when they were set free by the Chief Judge of Anambra State.
“There was this freed inmate we had to buy a motorcycle for to assist him in earning. It is not that we have plenty money to throw around but the joy of bringing smile to the faces of these neglected persons is enough to spur us on. We believe that in doing this, we are saving souls and bring them closer to God through the ministry ‘Everyday with Jesus and Mary.” He said.
Rev Fr Nwanjoko who said that he has been providing for the basic needs of the inmates on regular basis promised to do more so as to alleviate their suffering.
He urged the freed inmates to be indeed a true follower of Christ and serve Jesus with all their hearts and soul and that they should avoid anything that may make them return to the Correctional Center.
The ASP 1 of the Nnewi Correctional Center, Mrs Uche Okeke said that the eight of the freed inmates were part of the twenty five jobbers arrested by law enforcement agents and were brought to the center.
She pointed out that other persons paid their fine and were left off the hook except the ones freed by the priest.
“We talked to them and tried to get their relations to pay the fines ordered by the court but nobody came for them. So we had to run to Rev Fr Nwajoko who has always assisted us in times of need.” She said.
A spokesperson for the freed inmates, Mr. Jonathan Haruna from Plateau State thanked the priest for his intervention.