The Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh is backing the use of sports-based intervention programmes for the reformation, rehabilitation, and reintegration of prisoners into society after serving their sentences.
He made this known at the opening ceremony of a two-day policy workshop on sports-based intervention in prison settings, conducted by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime.
Represented by his Special Assistant, Mr. Bamiduro Olumide, Enoh said sports has the potential to bring people together regardless of their background, making it an effective tool for inmate rehabilitation. Research shows that focusing on rehabilitation rather than punishment can reduce reoffending rates. While many prisons have rehabilitation programs, sports is often overlooked as a powerful tool for self-transformation and successful reintegration.
The Minister emphasized President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to gender inclusivity in sports and the creation of the Ministry of Sports Development to promote job creation and poverty alleviation through youth engagement in sports.
He further expressed his willingness to collaborate with stakeholders to achieve government objectives. He also highlighted the importance of evidence-based interventions in using sports for rehabilitation in prisons. The workshop received commendations from various representatives and aimed to develop policies for social cohesion and inmate rehabilitation.
While commending the Federal Republic of Germany and the United Nations Organisations for Drug and Crime for the initiative, Enoh stressed the need for the off-shoots of the workshop to be used to develop evidence-based interventions for future programmes on the use of sports in prison settings in the country.
The workshop aims at developing policies geared towards using sports as a tool for social cohesion and rehabilitation of inmates after serving their jail term.