President Akufo-Addo in a group photo with Apostle Eric Nyamekye, some ministers, officials of the Ghana Prisons Service and chiefs at the opening.
PRESIDENT AKUFO-Addo recently commissioned the Nsawam Skills Acquisition, Vocational, and Reformation Camp Prison located at Ahodwo in the Nsawam/Adoagyir Municipality of the Eastern Region.
The edifice comprises fully furnished 320-capacity dormitory blocks for the inmates, a skills training centre in carpentry and tailoring, a state-of-the-art ICT lab, an administration block, a chapel (which shall also serve as a classroom), a kitchen, a dining hall, laundry, inmates’ washrooms, seven (7) sentry posts, two (2) mechanised boreholes, offices, an infirmary, a visitors’ lounge, a shop, CCTV installations, and other ancillary as well as recreational facilities constructed by the Church of Pentecost.
The President commissioned it for use on Saturday. This is the second to be commissioned, after the maiden one at Ejura was handed over to the Ghana Prisons Service a year ago.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “this is an example of the collaboration between the Church of Pentecost and the government.”
“We saw it during the height of the COVID-19 crisis when the church made available its facilities in the Gomoa Fetteh area and also organised food for the needy at the time. It shows the commitment of this church towards contributing to resolving the socio-economic problems of our nation,” he said, adding that, “All Ghanaians should therefore join me in saying a bye ookoo’ to them. The Church of Pentecost, by what it has done here today, has demonstrated exceptional leadership in its desire to maintain and grow a partnership with the State, to address the problems of our nation. The second of such facilities are being constructed by the Church of Pentecost, and there are 3 others as Apostle Nyamekye indicated in the pipeline, per my understanding, and at least 2 of them will be commissioned by the end of this year.”
The President further noted that “I can say with confidence that this ceremony is the highlight of my 3-day working visit to the region. I say so because we’re witnessing today, a very important example of the collaboration that we seek in this country, between government and several stakeholders in our nation, civil society organisations, faith-based organisations and independent institutions in our nation.”
“Apostle, your leadership of the church has already been commended by the General Secretary, I want to add my voice to that commendation, about the sterling work that you’re doing in the name of Christ and the Christian community in our country, it’s exceptional and we recognise it.”
Apostle Eric Nyamekye, in a remark, said the Ejura Prison Camp project constructed last year was already yielding some dividends.
According to him, “Currently, thirty-six (36) inmates are being trained in different trades (e). A good number of the inmates have already been trained at the workshop and have since been discharged.”
Apostle Nyamekye noted that “prison overcrowding is one key contributing factor to poor prison conditions around the world. It is also arguably the biggest single problem facing prison systems. Such overcrowding and associated challenges prevent prisons from fulfilling their proper functions.”
The Ghana Prisons Service, he stated, is experiencing acute overcrowding in its holding facilities across the country.
“Available statistics at the time of crafting our vision 2023 strategic document in 2018, indicated an overcrowding rate of 50.43% (i.e., 50.43% beyond the normal capacity),” he noted.
“As of last Thursday, 20th October 2022, there were a total of 14,957 inmates in our prisons, as against the maximum capacity of 9,850.
“Using the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons as a case in point, Mr. President, this holding facility was built to hold a total of 850 prisoners, but currently, the facility is holding 3,187 prisoners. This represents over 275% above the required capacity,” he underscored.
BY Daniel Bampoe