The Chief Judge of Ebonyi state, Justice Alloy Nwankwo has freed 38 inmates serving in Abakaliki and Afikpo federal Prisons during a jail delivery exercise.
Nwankwo while addressing Journalists said that the jail delivery exercise was in exercise of the constitutional rights conferred on the Chief Justice of the Federation and the Chief Judges of states by the Nigerian Constitution.
Giving a breakdown, the Chief Judge said a total 9 inmates were released from Abakaliki prisons while 9 others were released from Afikpo prisons.
He said the exercise was to decongest the prison yard by releasing awaiting trial inmates who have been in custody without trial over a period of time.
According to the Chief Judge, 11 inmates awaiting trial were discharged, nine were granted bail on self-recognition while the other nine were admitted to conditional bail in Abakaliki prisons.
Also, in Afikpo prisons, 5 inmates were discharged without condition, 3 released on bail condition and 1 freed on self-recognition.
He said that the facility was built to accommodate 387 inmates but lamented that no fewer than 1000 both awaiting trial and convicted inmates were presently housed in the facility.
“There are over 1000 inmates in the prison yard built to accommodate 387 inmates hence the need for us to regularly visit the prisons to treat deserving cases in order to decongest the prisons in line with the prisons reform policy.
“Our work as I said earlier does not include coming here to release all awaiting inmates, there are procedures otherwise we will be disobeying the law and that is not our intention”, Nwankwo said.
Justice Nwankwo commended the prisons authority for compiling the case files in proper order, saying by October, there would be a repeat of the exercise to further decongest the prison.
He charged the freed inmates to be of good conduct and to avoid engaging in further criminal activities that could throw them back to prison.
“You must be of good conduct, shun further criminal activities and work to contribute meaningfully to the society.
“Those on bail we are charging to be of good behaviour and to stick to the bail conditions to avoid revocation of the bail,” he added
Those released include; 66-year old Patrick Orji accused of alleged murder incarcerated for nine years without trial, Ikechukwu Okoro and Chibueze Nweke.
Others discharged are Chinonso Nwibo who is deaf and dumb, Chibuike Agbo, Ndubuisi Ogbonna, Ndubuisi Nworie and 12 year-old Chibuike Omuka
charged with alleged burglary among others.
Meanwhile, the Prisons Boss, Comptroller Emelia Adaobi Oputa , has handed over barbing saloon equipment to one of the freed prisons inmates Chinonso Nwibo, as part of efforts to rehabilitate prisoners serving various jails terms within the facility.
Handing over the equipment to Chinonso Nwibo, she advised him to be of good behavior and make use of the equipment to start his trade.
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