Philanthropist bails prisoners, awards scholarships to mark birthday
It was a moment of joy for some inmates of Ubiaja Prison in Edo State and over 500 indigent students selected from various tertiary institutions in the state last week as part of activities of the Ray Okpebholo Foundation to mark the 66th birthday of its founder.
Philanthropist and businessman, Bishop Ray Okpebholo, effected the release of three prisoners who have been incarcerated due to their inability to pay the fines imposed on them by the court for various offences, while the students were awarded with scholarships.
Okpebholo donated rice, toiletries, soaps and other items to the prisoners to support their upkeep. He also awarded N50,000 each to 500 final year indigent students from various universities and polytechnics in the state.
In a sermon he delivered to the inmates at the prison, Okpebholo, who is a bishop in the Church of God Mission, urged them to remain hopeful even in their predicament.
“You should be spending your time here with hope of a better tomorrow. The worst thing to a prisoner is to be hopeless. You have to know that God knows why you are here. It has come and it will pass. You will leave here for a better place. Obasanjo was in prison but when he left, he went straight to Aso Rock. You need to encourage yourselves and not feel disappointed,” he said.
One of the released inmates, who simply identified herself as Mrs. Ivie, said she was remanded because she could not afford N20,000 to perfect her bail until the cleric came to her rescue.
“I fought with a woman and that was what brought me here. I have spent three weeks in this place. I am a native of Uromi. I am separated with my husband and my children are with my mother. I won’t fight again and I beg other women not to be carried away with mere provocation that could land them in prison. I am happy for what the Bishop has done for me,” she said.
Another beneficiary, Lucky Bright said what brought him to prison was hunger. “I went to steal motor bike. My family is very poor and there is nothing for us to keep life going. I will follow Bishop home and I am ready to do any work I see. I have been here for about nine months. My advise to would-be robbers is that they should stay away from robbery because it doesn’t pay. May God continue to bless the man of God,” he said.