The authorities at Kirikiri female correctional centre have explained why Chidinma Ojukwu, who is standing trial over the murder of Michael Usifo Ataga, Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, was allowed to contest and be crowned Miss Cell 2022.
The beauty pageant was held at the Kirikiri female correctional centre to commemorate International Women’s Day, with this year’s theme: “BreakingTheBias”.
Authorities of the Nigerian Correctional Service Kirikiri explained that it permitted the 300-level Mass Communication student of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) alongside other inmates to contest in the pageant as one of several activities built to mark the Day.
The Command’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) Rotimi Oladokun in a statement said that the pageant was open to all female inmates, irrespective of whether they are convicted or awaiting trial.
Speaking on the pictures of Chidinma Ojukwu winning the pageant that have flooded the Internet, Oladokun said: “I haven’t seen the pictures you are talking about. But in line with International Women’s Day, the female custodial facilities commemorated International Women’s Day with inmates, various inmates without distinction or discrimination against anybody – an inmate is an inmate.
“All the inmates in different cell blocks presented various programmes. Some did theatre presentations, others drama, some poetry, some beauty pageant, some drawings, paintings, comedy. So, various blocks won. It was just like an inter-cell block event.
“There were lots of presentations. It was not an individual thing. It was just the facility’s way of trying to reform the inmates, those still in custody.
“So, that’s why they commemorated International Women’s Day, that’s why it was done in the female facility, not the male’s.”
Oladokun said that he did not know Chidinma Ojukwu in particular explaining that: “The particular inmate, I don’t know her name. There were various winners.
“The costumes were made by the inmates in the facility and some of the winners got sponsorship to pay for their UME forms, NECO, WASSCE and higher education.
“Some donated libraries to us, apart from some other stationery, and welfare resources. It was not an individual event, so the prizes were collective.
“There were representatives for each block, so maybe the inmate you are referring to was one of such representatives, but it was not an individual event, it was a collective one commemorating International Women’s Day.”