FORTY-FIVE inmates have been released across correctional centres in Akwa Ibom by the Chief Judge of the state Justice Ekaette Obot.
Obot released the inmates during a three-day visit to the correctional centres, noting that some of them have spent more years in detention than the penalty for the offence they were charged with.
Speaking with newsmen in Uyo on Friday, March 24, after a three-day visit to the centres, Obot called for the relocation of Eket Correctional Centre to decongest the facility for better management of inmates.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, three inmates were pardoned from Ikot Abasi, nine were discharged and acquitted in Eket, 11 inmates were also freed from Ikot Ekpene while 22 inmates were released from Uyo correctional centres respectively.
The Chief Judge further explained that some of the discharged inmates were in the facilities for four or five years without being charged to court.
She urged the freed inmates to stay away from crimes as they might not be lucky to have another chance.
Obot further advised them to engage in useful ventures.
The CJ disclosed that Ikot Ekpene is the best facility for inmates, adding that the Eket facility is the worst with a capacity of 123 but currently having 300 inmates.
“As I said at the beginning, Ikot Abasi was okay, and the capacity was not fully utilised. So, it was more organised than every other facility apart from Ikot Ekpene. Ikot Ekpene is the best facility we have in the state.
“Eket is the worst of all, it is limited in space and the number is overwhelming and they are not able to cater for the inmates there.
“I have suggested that the custodial centre’s authority in Abuja should negotiate with the governor of the state and even the community for a good space to relocate that facility for better management of the inmates,” she said.
The Chief judge called on the police officers in charge of legal matters and the director of public prosecution to ensure diligence in prosecution to avoid the destruction of the justice delivery system.
She added that some inmates are kept in the custodial centres without trial and no case for years by the police and public prosecution.
Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected] He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M