May 26, 2024

A’Ibom Chief Judge visits correctional centres, pardons 10 inmates

A’Ibom CJ visits correctional centres, pardons 10 inmates

Akpan Umoh, Uyo

The Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaette Obot, has pardoned 10 inmates of Ikot Abasi and Eket Correctional Centres, respectively who have been awaiting trial for some years without success.

Our correspondent reports that four of the inmates freed are from Ikot Abasi Correctional Centre, while six were freed from Eket Correctional Centre.

Obot, who went on a facility tour of the centres on Wednesday freed the inmates after reviewing their case files and expressed displeasure with relevant authorities for keeping inmates for up to four years without being charged in court.

One of the pathetic cases at the Ikot Abasi correctional centre was a young man, Kingsley Udoma, a 20-year-old, who was accused of jumping bail but was kept in the custodial centre for five months without being charged.

The chief judge in her judgement said, “This man had been in custody for over five months without any charge against him and the prosecutor has not given any reason why he should remain in custody.

“He is hereby released unconditionally and advised to be of good behaviour.”

The chief judge also freed Uboho Daniel, Samuel Friday and Emmanuel Ekanem from Ikot Abasi correctional centre unconditionally having stayed in the custodial centres for one to two years without being charged.

The chief judge also freed Esther Christopher, who was alleged to have stolen a baby and was kept at Eket custodial centre for more than three years without a charge.

Also freed at Eket custodial centre were Ime Udo, Udeme Peter, Kelly Ubokudom, Larry Patrick and Victor Samuel, who had been in the custodial centre for two to three years without any case file to charge them to court.

She urged the freed inmates to go and turn a new leaf, engage themselves in productive ventures and stay away from crimes as they might not be lucky to have another chance.

The chief judge urged relevant authorities to always respect one’s human rights and avoid keeping suspects in custody without being charged in court.

Earlier in his remarks, the Controller, Nigeria Correctional Service, Akwa Ibom Command, Mr. Julius Ezugwu, thanked the chief judge for the visit, adding that the visit would go a long way to give succour to the inmates. 

Ezugwu expressed the appreciation of the correctional centres and inmates to the chief judge for the visit.

The Head of Eket Correctional Centre, Mr Clement Enang, said that the custodial centre has the capacity for 123 inmates but is currently having 268 inmates.

Enang said that the facility has been overstretched and had challenges of inadequate water supply and poor electricity at the centre 

He thanked the chief judge for the facility tour of the centre despite her tight schedule to ascertain the condition of the centre and the welfare of inmates.

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