Thank God for His grace and the strength He has given us for the gospel of representing the less privilege, and those who were unable to hire a lawyer to defend them. We do not wish to reveal the identity of our beneficiaries (clients), because their privacy is of great importance to the success of this organization. We do not take any opportunity for granted, such opportunity is a chance for us to reach them with the gospel as well defending the less privileged. The Lord has enabled us to represent people in various courts within Plateau; among the issues that we were able to intervene are:
- A male, accused of culpable homicide since 2010. Thank God we represented him and was tried. However, the case is still pending. The greatest thing is he accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
- A male (Muslim), also accused of culpable homicide since 2010. He was reached with the gospel and represented. The trial is ongoing.
- A female Muslim, accused of possessing explosive, after our investigation, ASPIR reached her with the gospel, she was also granted bail in March 2013.
- We represented some families in conflict over landed properties in Bassa local government area, Plateau State. Thank God for the successful mediation.
- A male accused of armed robbery was granted bail on 27 September, 2012. We were able to represent him in court after being in prison for five (5) years under awaiting trial. The trial is still ongoing.
- By Gods’ grace we represented an accused person (Boro Shodo) who was jailed since 2003 for homicide, he was tried and found not guilty and was released on 30th January, 2018.
- ASPIR has also organized workshops and seminars on fundamental human rights awareness; Freedom of religion.
- We have done Advocacy for Social Change in Yola, Adamawa State in September 2017.
- ASPIR also facilitated a Seminar Organized by AFRICAN SERVICE in July/ Agust, 2017 at Zabolo; Bassa Local government area of Plateau State.
ASPIR has trained people in acquiring skills in Tailoring, and Computer Applications. Among those we trained are three (3) ladies namely:
- Na’omi Joel: was trained in tailoring.
- Margaret Omenka: Trained in Computer application.
- Hannatu Danladi: Also trained in Computer application
They are presently making a living from what they have acquired.
ASPIR has represented at least a reasonable number of people in court over the years. Some were found not guilty and were released, some were found guilty and are presently facing jail term, but were reached with the gospel and they received salvation. Though they are not save from receiving the punishment for their crime, however, glory be to God they are saved from eternal punishment.
During our contact and conversation with some prisoners who were jailed, we discovered interesting confessions from the prisoners. Some said they accepted being guilty due to the torture they received. And they are facing a punishment of a crime they did not do.
In addition to this suffering that such people are facing in prison, the poor state of our justice system which delays trail in court using the tool of a prolonged adjournment, also contributes to justice. They agree to be guilty as a result of torture and humiliation they receive during a process of interrogation which adds powerfully to the sense of being out of control and causes psychological deterioration, and also demoralizes.
Glory be to God.
The new years are symbolic rebirth, a chance to discard past follies and focusing on the endless opportunities of the incoming year. This is not an exception to the prisoners as the prison system was made to rehabilitate and give the prisoner a ground to have a rebirth, a rethink and a renewed life. Having a rebirth and a renewed life sounds so easy, but it is actually hard to put it into practice for normal people, imagine how much more difficult it must be for these prisoners who has faced insurmountable challenges in a process to get their lives on track.
Above all odds, nothing is actually impossible with God. This write up tends to bring up the possibilities of prisoners becoming a tool for change in the society. We brought out some instances of some people who were once prisoners but were refined and renewed during their jail time.
Professor Daniel Manville a strong advocate for civil rights and the rights of prisoners was a prisoner before becoming an advocate for civil rights. Manville spent almost four (4) years in the slammer for manslaughter. He continued to study while incarcerated and eventually earned two college degrees during his sentence. He became enamored with the legal profession and went to law school right after his parole. After waiting many years to be approved by the respective boards, Manville finally passed the bar exams in Michigan and Washington DC. Afterwards, Manville worked tirelessly to improve the prison system and represented various inmates and prison guards in civil cases.
Manville went ahead to teach law at the Michigan State University, where he hopes the insights he shares with students inspires them to someday help improve the system as well.
Uchendi Nwani the millionaire ex-convict, was raised by his stepfather, who was pastoring one Nashville’s largest Baptist congregation once played an exemplary role to his family when he was studying. He later involves himself to drug dealing and a very notorious one at that.
In October 15, 1993, Nwani was discovered with a million dollar shipment of cocaine while he was in the middle of an exam during his senior year. He was imprisoned for six and a half months of hard labour at a federal boot camp before he returned to finish his studies.
To make ends meet, Nwani cuts hair at the university salon. After he graduated, he opened his own barber shop and school which later became a huge success. Nwani now travels around the country to show that he is living proof that, no matter how low you sink, you really can turn your life around if you do not give up.
Amongst these are several stories and testimonies of ex-prisoners who really made a change in their lives and the lives of others. This is possible for anyone who is determined to make a difference, for anyone who is determined to have a rebirth. This can be possible when discipline is involved. Discipline can help us achieve our goals in life. We must give up something so as to have a focus towards a rebirth.
The most important thing that we need to give up and surrender is our own self desire to control our lives. Of course, we don’t surrender or give up and go into a vacuum. We surrender something in order to cling to something. Surrender is the means to enjoying more fully the most beautiful things in our lives. Ex-convicts have a better second start in life when they are determined. We can be a support and an encourager to these people, which is what ASPIR stands for to make a better partway for these prisoners. We represent them; give them a rethink, and rehabilitation for a better future. Join in making a better part way for this people.