Arising from his routine visit to Nigeria Correctional Services (NCS) in Edo, the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Joe Acha on Wednesday in Benin set free a Chadian national and five other inmates of the Oko Medium Custodian Centre unconditionally.
The beneficiaries are Williams John ’19’, Imeh Matthew ’36’, Danjuma Isaiah ’23’, Michael Umoko-Lucky ’26’, Anthony Isaac ’47’ and Lawal Dahu ’27’.
It was gathered that John, a Chadian national who was charged with conspiracy and unlawful possession of firearms and has been on awaiting trial since 11 months and 24 days, without case file, was freed by the Edo CJ on a “No case to Answer”.
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It was learned that Matthew, a native of Akwa-Ibom, and Isaiah, an Edo indegene, were separately charged with unlawfully carnal knowledge, and murder and have spent one and 10 years each without trial.
The Nigerian Tribune scooped further that Dahu from Katsina was charged with kidnapping and spent seven years and eight months awaiting trial without trace of case file, while Umoko-Lucky, a Delta State indigene was charged for conspiracy and Armed Robbery and spent a year as seven months awaiting trial.
Speaking during the visit, Justice Acha, said the Judiciary is always passionate about jail delivery exercise, adding that the visit was also to attend to inmates whose cases could not be concluded during his last visits.
He said: “As I have just alluded to, inmates whose cases came up during the last visits but were not concluded because of the need for additional or follow-up reports in respect of such inmates.
“All detainees sentenced to death who have exhausted all legal procedure for Appeal and a period of 10 years has elapsed without the execution of the sentence pursuant to section 12(2) (C) of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019 which empowers and gives me the discretion, as Chief Judge, to commute such sentences in deserving cases to life imprisonment.
“In the last category are special cases of aged or terminally ill inmates considered deserving of mitigation”.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Deputy Controller of Oko Medium Custodian Centre, Okwosha Okwosha, said the centre is faced with logistics problems especially in the areas of vehicles to convey inmates to court.
“It is our duty to ensure that awaiting trial inmates are taken to court in motorized formation as at when due.
“But we have some challenges in the area of logistics as we only have two Mini Green Maria with which we convey our inmates to over 52 courts spread across the seven local government area of Edo South Senatorial District,” he said.
It would be recalled that the Edo State Chief Judge, Justice Acha is expected to bow out of Service on May 19, 2023, when he must have attained the retirement age of 70.