May 23, 2024

Awaiting trial: Obot frees 14 inmates

Awaiting trial: Obot frees 14 inmates

Akpan Umoh, Uyo

The Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaette Obot, on Thursday visited Ikot Ekpene Correctional Centre and pardoned 14 inmates who had been awaiting trial for some years.

Our Correspondent reports that six of the inmates freed from Ikot Ekpene correctional centre were released on health grounds as they were presented as very sick.

Obot, who freed the inmates after reviewing their case files, said they were as their cases as presented by the Doctor in charge of the centre, Dr Christian Etukudo, were at terminal stages.

The chief judge expressed displeasure with the relevant authorities for keeping inmates for up to three years without being charged.

Obot during the visit, donated drugs and toiletries worth thousands of naira to the correctional centre to help cater for the inmates and sanity of the custodial centre.

One of the pathetic cases at the Ikot Ekpene correctional centre was that of a 15-year-old orphan, who was sexually abused several times by her master and ran away, but was charged with stealing.

The chief judge released the girl and directed that she be kept at a government home facility for orphans to be given proper care.

Apart from the six inmates released on health grounds, the chief judge also released Emediong Friday, who had been in the custodial centre for five years without being charged to Court.

The chief judge in her judgement said, “This man had been in custody for five years 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.”

Other inmates freed from Ikot Ekpene Correctional Centre were; Promise Udeme, Aniekan Okonna, Abraham Bassey, Emediong Ben,  Nyakno Dickson and  Nkereuwem Dan. 

The chief judge 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 the police to always respect people’s fundamental rights and avoid keeping suspects in custody without being charged in court.

In his remarks, the Controller, Nigeria Correctional Service, Akwa Ibom Command, Mr Julius Ezugwu, thanked the chief judge for the visit, which he said would go a long way to give succour to the inmates.

Ezugwu expressed gratitude to the chief judge for the drugs and toiletries donated to the correctional centres and inmates.

He thanked the chief judge for the facility tour of the custodial centres in the state to ensure that those that deserved mercy were shown mercy to decongest the centres.

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