Akpan Umoh, Uyo
The Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom, Justice Ekaette Obot, has pardoned 12 inmates of Ikot Abasi and Eket Correctional Centres respectively who have been awaiting trial for some years.
Three of the inmates freed were from Ikot Abasi correctional centre while nine were freed from Eket correctional centre.
Obot said this after the facility tour of the centres and had attended to their case files in Ikot Abasi and Eket Local Government Areas on Thursday.
The chief judge during the visit donated drugs and toiletries worth thousands of naira to the two correctional centres to take care of welfare of inmates.
Our correspondent reports that one of the pathetic cases in Ikot Abasi correctional centre was a young man, John Akpan, who was accused of stealing a bunch of plantain from his uncle’s plantation and had been in custody for over 12 months without trial.
Another one was Goodnews Isaiah, who was charged for assault and had been in custody for over 12 months without trial, was given unconditional freedom by the chief judge, who urged him to be of good behaviour.
Ime William also of Ikot Abasi correctional centre was accused of conspiracy and had been in custody for over three years was discharged and acquitted.
The chief judge also pardoned an 80-year-old man, Ime Udoh, in Eket correctional centre who could barely walk and his son James Ime, who were charged for disobeying court order.
The chief judge said that some of the freed inmates had spent more years in prison than the penalty for the offence they were charged with, while some had been in the custodial centres for five years without being charged to court.
She urged the freed inmates to go and turn a new leaf and engage themselves in productive ventures and stay away from crimes as they might not be lucky to have another chance.
Earlier in his remarks at Ikot Abasi correctional centre, the head of centre, Mr Boniface Momoh, said that the custodial centre has the capacity for 230 but locked 133 inmates.
Momoh thanked the chief judge for the facility tour of the centre in spite of her tight schedule to ascertain the condition of the centre and welfare of inmates.
He expressed the appreciation of the correctional centre and inmates to the chief judge, especially for the donation of drugs and toiletries to the centre.