Afro-dancehall artiste Lamboginny has offered an explanation to his decision to attend the Civil Society Conference in Salt Lake, Utah, US in prisoners outfit, stressing that he did so to drum home the need for the world to pay attention to the disheartening conditions of prisoners in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
Known in real life as Yinka Lawanson, the musician who had received an invitation from the United Nations Global Communication Department to be a speaker at the event was earlier denied entry due to his outfit.
“I wanted to draw the world’s attention to the poor state of prisons in Nigeria and across Africa. I wanted to use the UN platform to plead with the global community to have a forgiving heart towards anyone returning from prison,” he tells Sunday Scoop.
“Let’s put an end to the stigmatisation of ex-convicts and build a peaceful inclusive society leaving no one behind.”
Commenting on how he felt when he was turned away as a result of how he dressed, the singer said “it showed me how much society doesn’t want anything to do with anyone returning from prison. Consider how they felt seeing me wearing the uniform and imagine what the real inmates go through. But, I’m happy the UN finally gave me a chance to deliver my speech dressed as a prisoner. My interview was also published on the UN News website.”
Lamboginny further indicated that it is urgent for powers that be to take a look at the challenges confronting prisoners, remand inmates and proffer remedy.
“My driving force is firstly my love for all humanity, regardless of religion, culture, nationality or class. Secondly, it breaks my heart to see thousands of inmates awaiting trial for years without knowing their fate,” he says.
“The prison is not a dumping ground; it’s supposed to be for a correctional purpose. Most importantly, I believe in second chances and I think most inmates deserve one.”