• Seeks review of bail conditions
Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The Chief Judge of Edo State, Justice Cromwell Idahosa, yesterday freed a physically challenged person and five others who were awaiting trial at the Oko Medium Prison, Benin City.
The six inmates were freed while Justice Idahosa was reviewing 983 cases, saying the visit was part of requirements to finalise his retirement from service.
He commended judges of criminal division for their proficiency in handling cases and sued for the immediate review of bail conditions which at times are severe to those accused of any criminality.
The Edo CJ however, expressed dissatisfaction with the way some cases were being handled.
It was in the process of reviewing these cases majorly from the Magistrate Courts, District Customary Courts, High Courts, and Criminal Courts, that he freed one Obama Adamu, a physically challenged man who has been in Awaiting Trial (AT) for four years and one month.
He said there was no point allowing a deaf, dumb and blind man remain in the prison for alleged conspiracy and armed robbery when the case was stalled as a result of his condition.
The Chief Judge also expressed disappointment with the case of one Odion Peter, who has spent six years, 10 months in jail and has never been arraigned before any court.
Both of them and four others have been on awaiting trial for five to eight years for various crimes and their cases had been met with some challenges.
Against this backdrop therefore, Justice Idahosa urged the Prison authority to contact the families of those freed so that immediately, proper care suitable can be given to them.
Describing the visit as one that has doused tension among the inmates who were hopeful that their cases will one day be reviewed, the Deputy Controller of Oko Prisons, Evboeruan Godwin, disclosed that they have requested logistic support from the Chief Judge and commended him for setting up a criminal court which has ensured speedy trial and decongestion of the prisons.
“I have requested for the Chief Judge to assist us in our logistic problem and we also commended him for creating a criminal court which ensures speedy trials for the inmates and justice is being dispensed immediately which has led to prison decongestion,” he said.