First Lady supports Nsawam Female Prison

The First Lady, Lordina Mahama, has donated essential medical supplies and assorted food items to support the inmates of Nsawam Female Prison in the Eastern Region.

The presentation was held at a durbar to welcome Her Excellency to the prison. Some of the medical supplies were catheters, wheel chair, theatre bed, syringes, bandages, forceps, and gloves.

The rest are 30 bags of rice, 10 boxes of cooking oil, 5boxes of tin tomatoes and sugar.

Her maiden visit followed that of President John Mahama’s visit to the Nsawam Medium Security Prison last when he launched Project ‘Efiase’.

In a welcome address, the Eastern Regional Prisons Commander, Deputy Director of Prisons (DDP), Mr. Isaac Egyir, commended the government for registering 95% of the total inmates’ population onto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

DDP Egyir identified water shortage as one of the challenges confronting the prison establishments in the region. He, therefore, requested for five additional boreholes to complement the supply of water in the prisons.

The First Lady who is also the President of Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) called on the judiciary to review the high sentences meted out to offenders leading to overcrowding in the prisons.

She suggested that minor offences like stealing should attract non-custodial sentence such as community service, instead of convicting minor offenders to the already congested prison.

Mrs. Mahama advised the prisoners to consent to HIV/AIDS testing in order to know their status and receive early treatment if tested positive.

The First Lady pledged to support the batik tie and die vocational training at the Nsawam Female Prison. She lauded the Prisons Service Council for launching Project ‘Efiase’ and, therefore, pledged her unflinching support for the Project.

Miss Mercy Gyamaa, leader of the inmates, appealed to the President to intervene on their behalf and ensure that the high sentences imposed on first offenders were reduced.

She recounted that for the past twenty-five years she had been in prison, this was the first time she has witnessed a First Lady visiting prisoners.

The acting Director-General of Prisons (DGP), Mr. Emmanuel Yao Adzator, thanked Her Excellency for her remarkable visit and show of love to the prison inmates.

He praised government for providing 77 vehicles to the Prisons Service to enhance its operations nationwide. He also praised the Minister of Fisheries for donating boxes of Tuna flakes to the Service.

The acting DGP underscored that the growing prisoner population has made it difficult for government alone to bear the cost of maintaining the welfare of prisoners in a decent and acceptable condition as required by law.

He, therefore, called on corporate organizations, civil society groups and individuals to support the prisons.

The Chairman of the Prisons Council, Rev. Dr. Stephen Wengam, said the unprecedented visit of President Mahama to the Nsawam Prison came with a lot of good tidings to the Service.

It would be recalled that the government allocated an amount of GH¢50, 000, 000.00 in the 2015 mid-year budget for the construction of a remand block at the Nsawam Medium Security Prison to ease congestion.

Rev. Dr. Wengam described the First Lady’s gesture as a fulfillment of scripture. He further stated that inmates’ reforms can be effective through the word of God, skills training programmes, and the support of kind hearted leaders like our own mother, the First Lady.

He lamented that the Prisons Service cannot boast of a single hospital like its allied forces, the military and the police. The drawings of the proposed hospital were presented to the First Lady. Dr. Wengam called on corporate Ghana to support the Service to put up the facility.

The First Lady was presented with a citation and gifts from the Prisons Council, the Service, and inmates of the Nsawam prisons respectively.

Other dignitaries present were, Hon. Mavis Ama Frimpong, the Eastern Regional Minister; Nana Okumanin Baffour, a nominee of the President on the Prisons Council; members of the Prisons Directorate; and some prison ambassadors.

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