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Prison Congestion: Chief Judge Frees 31 Inmates In Ebonyi Prisons


The Chief Judge of Ebonyi State, Justice Alloy Nwankwo, on Friday freed 31 inmates of Abakaliki and Afikpo prisons during a jail delivery.

Justice Nwankwo, who briefed newsmen after the exercise, said the decision was part of the prisons decongestion initiative of the Federal Government.

Those who benefited from the gesture included Akpu Eni, who had spent 11 years awaiting trial, Joseph Obasi, whose case file was missing and spent three years awaiting trial.

Others were Sunday Ali, accused of stealing and in prison for three years and six months without any case file, Friday Alagba, Obinna Onwe, Sunday Ali, Friday Otakpo, among others.

The CJ explained that the beneficiaries also included inmates who had exceeded what would have been their prison terms if they had been convicted while awaiting trial and those with severe health challenges.

Others who benefited from the gesture were inmates whose files were either missing or not transmitted to the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) for vetting and other necessary action or those with no case file.

Nwankwo said that of 17 freed inmates in Abakaliki Prison, 11 were discharged while six were granted conditional bail.

The CJ also said that out of the 14 inmates released from Afikpo Prison, four were outrightly freed and 10 granted conditional bail.

“I want those of you that benefited from this exercise to be of good conduct and never indulge in any act of criminality.

“This exercise is part of our prisons decongestion programme done with powers conferred on the Chief Justice of the Federation and Chief Judges of the states under the `Release from Custody Special Provisions Act.

“Our charge to those who have regained their freedom is to go and sin no more and also to shun acts of criminality and to be of good behaviour,’’ Nwankwo said.

The CJ urged the police to always abide by the new policy direction of the state in the prosecution of criminal matters by promptly transmitting duplicates of case files of suspects to DPP.

The Chief Judge said: “The court frowns at undue delays in the transmission of duplicate files of criminal suspects to the DPP for prompt vetting and arraignment before courts of competent jurisdiction.

“Our policy direction in this regard still sustains as justice delayed is justice denied.’’

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