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The 2017 edition of the family weekend annual general meeting of the prison fellowship Nigeria was attended by 897 delegates from 12 state chapters held under the chairmanship of Mr. Israel Olorundare, SAN and Lt. Gen Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (Rtd.), minister of Interior. The theme: Let your light so shine (Matthew 5:16).
The proceedings of the opening day commenced with opening prayers led by Pastor Sule Bamigboye, Chief of Staff to the Executive Director, followed by a welcome address by Barrister Benson Iwuagwu, Executive Director, who admonished everyone to be focused, the Executive Director then introduced the first speaker for the day.
The opening paper was presented by Dr. Uju Agomoh, Founder/Director, Prison Rehabilitation & Welfare Action (PRAWA) titled Project Funding And Partnership Development In Pf Nigeria. Dr Agomoh made the following points in her presentation:
We are wired with a purpose
Need for diligence
Every assignments God gives us is for His own glory
The Second presentation was by the Comptroller of the FCT Command, His paper was titled: Building community relations among prison stakeholder, prison inmates, prison volunteers and other social agencies – CP FCT Command
In his presentation, he put forward the following points:
Aims of imprisonment
Goals of Prisons in Nigeria
How do we build community relationship between inmates, volunteers, officers, etc.
The third paper for the day was presented by Pastor Vincent Omegba and was titled: Volunteering, Prison Fellowship Nigeria Ministry Vis-À-Vis Prison Fellowship Ministries In The Diaspora.
In his presentation, he made the following points:
The fourth paper, Identify And Explore Core Areas In Prison Ministry To Enhance Volunteers Effectiveness, was also presented by Pastor Omegba
Pastor Omegba made the following points:
How do you change a system?
What do we need to change in PF now for us to move forward?
For any change to happen, there are critical milestones:
You must know the philosophical basis of prison ministry. – Philosophy is the fundamental study of reality, knowledge and existence.
Know the sociological basis. If there is a prison ministry in Agenebode, you must understand the culture of the people even in doing prison ministry because people are more psychological than spiritual. If you know the psychology before the spiritual, it helps a great deal
The theological basis
The economic basis of prison ministry
The fifth and final paper for the day was presented by Pastor (Dr.) Dele Babade, Title Let Your Light So Shine Before Men
In his presentation, he made the following points:
To round-off activities for the first day, the Board Chairperson Mrs. Din led the meeting in prayers after which she presented the 2018 calendar to Dr. Babade.
The annual family weekend of the fellowship kicked-off after the paper presentations were concluded. State chapters were asked to present report of activities for the last one year. State chapter in attendance either presented reports or submitted already written reports. Notable summaries from some of the state chapter reports are as follows:
Adamawa: Out of 17 prison formations in the state, four are still locked up because of the insurgency.
Kwara: There are four prisons in Ilorin one of them, Oke-Kura prisons is conducting educational programs for inmates.
Lagos: South West retreat of volunteers was hosted by Lagos. Lagos also reports that the Onesimus project is making huge impact in the lives inmates.
Nasarawa: In its report mentioned that the Officer- In-charge wants to deal directly with churches. They therefore are planning to visit the State Controller on the matter. Nasarawa also noted that the Keffi –old prison worship centre is too small.
Niger: The state reports that there is a challenge of chairmanship of the chapter which has affected the speedy growth of reaching out to other prisons in Niger State. Asks if National Secretariat for permission to have elections conducted to elect other officials.
Osun: Stated that they are overdue for elections and would want the national office to come conducts another election for them.
Oyo: Chapter recorded appreciable progress. Great co-operation with the judiciary which led to facilitation of bail for some inmates.
Taraba: Bacha prison is slated for training on beads making.
Immediately after the state chapters had presented their reports, the house observed a minute of silence in honour of officers and volunteers who passed on in the course of the year across nation.
The Executive Director canvasses the need to build a worthy national ministry, noting that, sacrifices must be made in the pursuit of something meaningful. These requirements are essential statutorily and spiritually. Adding also, that there is need for us to mutually edify one another.
The meeting then picked Kaduna picked as next host of the AGM in 2018.
One of the highlights of the meeting was the introduction of a prison fellowship anthem written by a volunteer from Abuja which drew commendation from the Board Chair.
To bring the family meeting to a close, Mr. Bulus Ayuba from Adamawa moved the motion for adjournment and it was seconded by Mr. Ucheibe from Kano.
Thereafter the closing prayers were taken.
DAY TWO: MORNING SESSION
Proceeding for the second day commenced at about 7:15 am with prayers led by the secretary general after which the Executive Director, Barr. Benson Iwuagwu presented a paper titled Strengthening the Operational Structure of PF Nigeria
The Executive Director made the following points in his presentation:
After the presentation there was a testimony from a Muslim ex-inmate who shared his experience in his time at the Kirikiri prison who had the mind of seeking revenge upon his release but after meeting with Bro. ND Oleka who mentored him while he was in prison, he changed his mind and his life is now changed and he is convinced that love concurs all things.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The AGM started at about 10:50 am with introductions of dignitaries at the event. Engineer Yinka Oyewole introduced the members of the high table.
Chairman’s opening remarks
In the chairman’s opening remarks, he expresses delight to be at the AGM and refers to the Aminu Mohammed testimony as an indicator of what is being achieved by the prison fellowship. Even with these achievements we must understand that everyone will still give account of his time here on earth. He also urges volunteers to keep the flag flying and not to relent in our efforts at saving the inmates.
Board Chair Address
Appreciates everyone who took time to come to Abuja for the AGM especially in the light of the economic difficulties. She encouraged the meeting from the book of Psalm 18: 1-2. She would want us to personalise these verses in the work that we do. If we continue to trust God we will do exploits in the prisons.
Similarly, the Board Chairperson appreciates PFI for the programmes that they bring to Nigeria and thanked the state chapters that are working and wants them to do more.
The Board chairpersons address was followed by a paper presented by the chairman of the occasion then presented his paper titled, Injustice In The Delay Of Criminal Trial In Nigeria
In is presentation the chairman made the following points:
Goodwill message was delivered by Air Commodore Dan Suleiman, Former Governor of Plataea State
In his remarks, he said he was once a prisoner for three days as a NADECO activist. He decries the state of Nigerian prisons and encourages the Prison fellowship to continue to do more in the good work that is being done.
The Minister of interior
The Minister of Interior was represented by Controller of Prisons Daniel Okaro and in his remarks, encourages PF to continue its work in the Prisons. The case of Aminu Yusuf is a case in to buttress his point, he noted.
The Executive Director used the opportunity to Showcases PF Nigeria
In showcasing PF Nigeria, the Executive Director made the following points:
The showcase of PF Nigeria was followed by the launch of the PF Nigeria calendar for 2018 by the Board Chairperson. Dignitaries, state chairmen and individuals were also invited to launch the calendar This was followed by the presentation of awards to distinguished individuals who have served the fellowship meritoriously. The presentation of awards was followed by a session of praise celebration.
AGM BUSINESS MEETING
The meeting started at about 2:25pm with minutes of the AGM in Uyo read by the Secretary General. This was immediately followed by the Executive Directors report. The Audited statement of account and the Budget presentation for 2018 were also presented by the Financial Secretary who apologised to States that the hard copies of the report would not be given to respective states as they could not be printed but that the reports would be forwarded to their emails.
Following corrections made to the respective reports and munities and the adoptions, the following resolutions were reached after lengthy discussions.
The budget and minutes should be sent to states before the AGM that members can follow.
Going forward to truly have a national account covering both State and National accounts, states have to participate in the accounting process. States must submit their statements of accounts before the end of July every year.
The accounting year July 1 to June 30 was adopted as the financial accounting year for the fellowship.
State are mandated to have a functional state secretariat.
The motion was adopted for the replacement of board members who have not been adding value to the ministry in order to have a viable Board of Trustees
The Executive Director’s motion for the setting up of disciplinary committee and a Finance and Property Committee which is essential for the ministry were also adopted.
Deacon Elijah Ogunsanya was elected in a bye election as Deputy Executive Director to replace Late Dr. Ufot Ekere.
In her final remarks to close the AGM, the Board Chair was thankful to the Abuja chapter for a job well-done. The AGM came to a close at 1703 hours after motions for adjournments had be taken and closing prayers were offered.