Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja
In line with federal government directives to decongest correctional centres in the country to curtail the spread of COVID-19, a total of 41 awaiting trial inmates of the six correctional centres in Kogi State have regained their freedom.
The inmates were released by the state Chief Judge, Justice Nasiru Ajanah, who ordered their unconditional release when he embarked on the exercise to decongest correctional centres in the state.
He said during the exercise that it was in line with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to decongest correctional centres nationwide in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the inmates released were those charged for minor offences like theft, trespassing, mischief among others. While some were also set free on health basis, others who have spent beyond the prescribed period of jail terms for offences allegedly committed also benefitted from the Chief Judge’s visit to the prison facilities in the state by also regaining their freedoms.
The Chief Judge, during his visit, did not consider inmates charged with serious offences bothering on the security of the state, noting that the security of citizens during the period of the coronavirus-inspired lockdown also entails that potential security risks should not be allowed to further torment the citizens already contending with the virus.
Hence, those facing serious offences like armed robbery, culpable homicide, rape among other were not considered in the exercise.
In addition, all those set free were advised to go on self-isolation as well as change their ways of life, as the CJ emphasised that the full wrath of the law would catch up with them should they indulge in such activities again.
Earlier in his remark, the state Controller of the Correctional Centre, Malady Ohakosun, expressed appreciation to the state government for embarking on such exercise through the judiciary, and appealed for assistance to the correctional centres in the state.
The Centres visited included that of Kabba housing inmates from Kotonkarfe, which was sacked by flood; Okene, Dekina, Ankpa and Idah, where the total number of the 41 inmates were released.