2:31 pm - Monday May 21, 2018

‘We Offer Fresh Hopes, New Life to former Convicted Criminals in United Kingdom’ -Dr Tunde Oyinloye, leading Humanitarian, multiple award winner in London *We Are Inspired into giving Second Chance for Better Living *Most People that served their Jail Terms search for Genuine Love *Awaiting UK Govt Approval on our film ‘Homelessness in the London Borough of Hackney’ * Our Prison and Hospital Visitations are Priceless *Over-stayers are being Detained in Immigration Detention Camps for months or even years *99% of ex-Offenders face too many Restrictions to Employment, Training or Visitation * US, UK Govt should Investigate why people easily become Homeless

‘We Offer Fresh Hopes, New Life to former Convicted Criminals in United Kingdom-Dr Tunde Oyinloye, leading Humanitarian, multiple award winner in London

*We Are Inspired into giving Second Chance for Better Living

*Most People that served their Jail Terms search for Genuine Love

*Awaiting UK Govt Approval on our film ‘Homelessness in the London Borough of Hackney’

* Our Prison and Hospital Visitations are Priceless

*Over-stayers are being Detained in Immigration Detention Camps for months or even years

*99% of ex-Offenders face too many Restrictions to Employment, Training or Visitation

* US, UK Govt should Investigate why people easily become Homeless

HE’S a prominent Civil Rights Advocate, intelligent and visionary man fighting for humanity-especially the homeless, jobless and most importantly giving a new lease of life to former convicted criminals so as to gradually re-integrate them into the society and clear off their negative stigmatized impression in the Queen’s enclave. In this EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU, Dr. Nathaniel Tunde Oyinloye, former First Vice Chairman, Nigeria Diaspora Security Forum, an Ambassador of Peace discussed all of these issues and many more.

nath140315Q: How did you conceive the idea of giving hope to ex-offenders in United Kingdom?

A: I was divinely inspired when I visited someone in prison. I discovered in our conversation that people in prison need the help of friends, family and the community. Someone needs to listen to them, to find out why? how? what? and not be judgemental because situations have to be viewed from a holistic approach.

Before they were ex-convicts, they were first of all human beings with all the rights afforded by national and international laws. Incidentally, we deal with both convicts and non-convicts who have been incarcerated at one point in time and need to return to normal living as soon and as seamlessly as possible.

Q: How were you able to bring these former offenders into living normal lives in the British society without being stigmatized by the public?
A: Anyone attempting to do what I am doing should expect to be stigmatized, just as they are. However it is less pronounced in UK in comparison to Africa. As long as God keeps using me to help straighten lives and contribute to their getting a second chance in life, I don’t care what others think about me.

Q: What inspired you into concentrating on these former convicted criminals?
A: I am naturally a humanitarian and human rights advocate who does not want people cheated of their rights and also firmly believe that we are all prone to mistakes and wrong decisions in life but also we are all entitled to be given a second chance to correct our mistakes. Two wrongs don’t make a right. In relation to this particular group of people, I was divinely inspired as aforementioned.

Q: Was there anytime you felt your life was in danger when you started off this project?
A: No, my life has never seriously been under threat though there has always been some side nasty talks and insinuations but I am not deterred. Most people who have left prison are not dangerous but want to be loved and cared for just like you and me.

Q: How has it been difficult to get British sponsors to back you up on this humanitarian project?

A: There are various channels for applying for sponsorship and every project is treated on its own merit. The challenge could be where there are other organisations or community groups seeking funding for similar projects in the same vicinity. We recently produced a film on homelessness in the London Borough of Hackney which is on YouTube. We look forward to approval of some of our new requests being processed.

Q: Since you started, how much will you say your company has spent so far in consistently giving life to these people?

A: We can’t place monetary value on what we do aimed at changing people’s lives positively. For instance our food bank / free feeding programme, in conjunction with a London-based food chain, feeds thousands of people annually. Our prison and hospital visitations are priceless. We signpost people regularly to get help with government departments and other charities. We help children in need and their families.

Q: What has been some of the most hardened circumstances you had to overcome in ensuring this project see the light of the day?

A: Funding needs to be sustainable to bring them together and pay the facilitator, venue, publicity and volunteers’ expenses.

Q: Can you shed lights on the categories of these people, as in what crimes were they convicted in the British courts before now?

A: Various crimes from minor to big, eg: driving penalty, domestic abuse, drugs, burglary, rape, shop lifting etc. but crime is crime. The Immigration matter is another big issue, where over-stayers are being detained in immigration detention camps for months or even years – ”A mental torture system”

Q: Are you including the homeless, prostitutes and disabled in this same project?

A: The ex-offenders apprenticeship project is only for the ex-offenders. To be eligible you must be an offender because it is a big problem in UK when someone is an offender, there are too many restrictions to employment and some training or places allowed to visit, depending on the offence. All these contribute to almost 99% of ex-offenders re-offending and returning back to prison. We have different projects, eg: Homeless people need shelter and food first. Prostitutes who are ex-offenders are welcome to the apprenticeship. Disabled people who are ex-offenders are also welcome.

Furthermore, our programmes help to avoid homelessness or make it as brief as possible. We educate girls to avoid sexual harassment and exploitation even from those known to or close to their families. The disabled are vulnerable regardless of age, sexual orientation or type of disability. We help them directly or indirectly in any way possible. The definition of disability in the UK is very wide and backed by law so whatever we do  for or with them has to be strictly within the confines of the law. We have trained staff and volunteers qualified to offer such help where desired or necessary.

Q: How do you think the British Prime Minister’s government and America’s President-elect Donald Trump administration can be of assistance to you?

A: Well, no matter how developed a society is, there would always be crimes committed or those with criminal tendencies, while others may be forced into it by poverty, peer pressure, etc. The US and UK governments still have a lot to do to reduce crime, especially racial / religious hate crimes in the two nations. They should also try to discover how and why people easily become homeless or quickly address the situation.

HPAN is a charity organisation with funding challenges to carry out it activities. These two powerful people at the seat of government can be of assistance working together to finance our activities / projects or invite us to do a pilot scheme project in some of the prisons.

Q: Has there been any White or Black American among these people?

A: I live in UK and our organisation is open to all, no discrimination of age, sex, tribe, culture, colour etc. There are quite a few but mostly people in this category are with dual British and US nationalities.

Q: Finally, as a Nigerian-British, what lessons has life taught you?

A: Lessons has taught me that we are all human with similar needs regardless of colour, the country we call home or our economic status.

 

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