Human Right & AdvocacyJudiciary

Delta State CJ Visits Kwale Correctional Centre Denies 231 Inmates Bail

By Kelvin Ohoror

The hopes of 231 inmates were dashed as none of them were released at the Kwale Correctional Centre, Ndokwa West Local Government Area, Delta State, when the State Chief Judge, Justice Theresa Diai, visited the facility recently.

The 231 inmates whose warrants were reviewed, had high expectations that they would be granted bail or released like the nine inmates at the other correctional centres (Warri and Sapele) who were released by the Chief Judge last week.

Justice Diai, while at the Kwale Correctional Centre said the reason for the visit was not to throw the prison open for all inmates to walk freely on the streets, but “my aim of visit is circumscribed and it is by the Criminal Justice Release from Custody Act”.

“And before I proceed, I wish to make it clear that those visits ( Warri and Sapele) are not to release everybody from custody.

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“My duties include being satisfied that the detention is lawful.

“The second one is that the Chief Judge is expected that nobody is here for more years than he is expected to serve upon admission because some people may be there for three years or more for offences that are just for two years. So in such cases, the visit is an opportunity to release those people”, she declared.

The Chief Judge directed legal practitioners who represented clients during the exercise to make every application including bail to the trial courts.

On the appeal for state government assistance for logistics made by the Kwale prison authority, Justice Diai however assured that she would draw the attention of the Governor to the matter even as she acknowledged state government numerous assistance given to correctional centres in the state, even though, it is the federal government responsibility to provide logistics to these custodial centres in the country.

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“You know sometimes I just wonder whether the federal government still remember that there are other formations outside Abuja because there are no vehicles most of the time to bring inmates to court,” she lamented.

She, however, appreciated the Kwale custodial centre authority for maintaining good sanitary conditions, and members of the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA) for contributing to the improvement at Kwale High Court.

The Assistant Controller of Corrections (ACC), Egwuatu Joseph, said that the Kwale Correctional Centre was established in 1906 during the colonial era with a capacity of 262 inmates, but held 242 inmates at present.

Mr. Egwuatu who appealed for assistance from the state government complained that the centre has only one functional vehicle to convey inmates to 32 courts in four local government areas, forcing them to hire vehicles.

He regretted that most courts do not attend to custody cases early thereby exposing inmates and prison officers to security risk.

It would be recalled that the Chief Judge of the State discharged five inmates, Ejovi Daniel (29), Testimony Invoke (35), Michael Ahmed (20), Destiny Julius (29), and Nwafili Ifeanyi (39) who have been in prison custody for two years and above, awaiting trial at the Warri Custodial Centre of the Nigerian Correctional Service.

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