President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Saturday, October 22, 2022 as part of his three-day tour of the Eastern Region commissioned the Nsawam Skills Acquisition, Vocational and Reformation Camp Prison.
The edifice, comprises fully furnished 320-capacity dormitory blocks for the inmates, a skills training centre in carpentry, tailoring, a state-of-the- art ICT Lab, Administration block, a Chapel (which shall also serve as classroom), a Kitchen, a dining hall, laundry, inmates’ washrooms, seven sentry posts, two mechanised boreholes, offices, an infirmary, a visitors’ lounge, a shop, CCTV Installations, and other ancillary and recreational facilities.
Constructed by the Church of Pentecost, in furtherance of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) detailing the respective roles of the Ghana Prisons Service and The Church of Pentecost, this is the second to be commissioned, after the maiden one at Ejura was handed over to the Ghana Prisons Service a year ago.
Addressing the gathering, President Akufo-Addo stated that “this is an example of the collaboration between the Church of Pentecost and the government. We saw it during the height of the COVID 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. All Ghanaians should therefore join me in saying a big ‘ayekoo’ to them.”
He indicated that “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 that 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.”
He said, “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 must recognise it.”
Chairman of the Church of Pentecost, Apostle Eric Nyamekye, said, the Ejura Prison camp project constructed last year is already yielding some dividends. Currently, thirty-six (36) inmates are being trained in different trades (Tailoring, Kente Weaving, Leatherworks, Carpentry, and Metalworks). A good number of the inmates have already been trained at the workshop and have since been discharged.
He said this vision of the Church “is hinged on a three-pronged approach, one of which is partnering with Government for the socio- economic development of the nation. As a church, we believe that we have not only been called to worship God but to also, serve God’s purpose within the society. It is from such a conviction that we are gathered here to commission this prison camp project,” he added.
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).”
“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.”