Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki
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 said the jail delivery programme 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.
A total of 29 inmates were released from Abakaliki prisons while nine 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, five inmates were discharged without condition; three released on bail condition and one was freed on self-recognition.
He said the facility was built to accommodate 387 inmates but lamented that no fewer than 1,000 both awaiting trial and convicted inmates were presently kept in the facility.
â€œThere are over 1,000 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.
â€œOur 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,â€ he stated.
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 decongests the prison.
He charged the freed inmates to be of good conduct and avoid engaging in further criminal activities that could throw them back to prison.
Meanwhile, the Prisons Controller, Emelia Adaobi Oputa , has handed over barbing saloon equipment to one of the freed prisoners, Chinonso Nwibo, as part of efforts to rehabilitate the prisoners serving various jails terms in the facility.
Handing over the equipment to Chinonso Nwibo, she advised him to be of good behavior and make good use of the equipment.