By Douglas Okoro
The Chief Judge of Ebonyi, Justice Elvis Ngene on Tuesday at Ukpa, Afikpo in Afikpo North local government area of Ebonyi released 12 inmates of Afikpo Custodial Centre during a jail delivery.
Ngene said the goal of the delivery was in exercise of powers conferred on him by the 1999 Constitution as amended which was aimed at decongesting the custodial centre.
The CJ pointed out that the exercise was not aimed at throwing open the gate of the facility for suspects to go but rather to provide succour to those inmates that deserved it.
“The exercise is to grant freedom to those who may have over stayed their sentence if they were tried and convicted to serve their terms.
“The exercise is also to grant bail to those who have been in custody over minor cases which are bailable offences and whose cases information have not been filed on.
“The jail delivery is not for those standing trial for capital offences or those whose cases are already before courts of competent jurisdictions,” Ngene said.
He added that the exercise would be a regular exercise and emphasised that another exercise would be carried out in December at the facility.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the exercise is the first to be carried out by the CJ who was inaugurated as the fourth Chief of Judge of the state by Gov. Dave Umahi on March 29.
NAN also reports that a total of 23 cases were heard; two out of the 12 freed inmates were outrightly discharged while 10 were released on bail with 11 inmates further remanded in custody.
Meanwhile, Mr Ndubuisi Ogbodo, Controller of Correctional Service, Ebonyi Command in an interview with newsmen said the Afikpo custodial centre was built to accommodate 160 inmates but regretted that the facility had about 248 inmates.
He said: “Practically speaking, the number of those released cannot decongest our custodial centre but it has gone a long way and as the CJ said, we are still expecting him by the end of the year to release more inmates and grant bail to others,” Ogbodo said. (NAN)