Judiciary

Five Regains Freedom As Visit Delta CJ Correctional Centre

By Kelvin Ohoror
The Chief Judge (CJ) of Delta State, Honourable Justice Theresa Diai has discharged five inmates awaiting trial at the Nigerian Correctional Service, Warri.
Justice Diai ordered their release following the legal advice of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), disclosing that the defendants have no case to answer.
The fortunate inmates, Ejovi Daniel (29), Testimony Invoke (35), Michael Ahmed (20), Destiny Julius (29) and Nwafili Ifeanyi (39) have been in prison custody for two years.
The inmates who maintained their innocence thanked the Chief Judge for her mercy and making them to regain freedom and promised to be law abiding and be useful to the society.
The Chief Judge who arrived the Warri correction Centre ( popularly called Okere Prison) few minutes before 10. am to commence her quarterly visit of the year, commended the prison authority for their adequate preparation, disclosing that she was not able to embark on the visit last year owing to certain circumstances.
” I welcome all of you here to this centre. We were able to do very little last year due to the prevailing circumstance. What we are doing now is to ensure people get justice,” Justice Diai stated.
She explained that the prison visit was not meant to usurp jurisdiction of the courts on cases before them, but that cases would be considered on their merit, including health grounds, unjustified long detention in prison custody and want of diligent prosecution, among others.
The last visit to correction centres was in April, 2020 on the directive of the Federal Government in a bid to decongest prison formations across the country on the heel of the outbreak of COVID-19 Pandemic to check the spread of the deadly virus.
Earlier, the Deputy Controller of Warri Corrections Centre, Efiong Okon Etim, disclosed that the total inmates in the centre stands at 873 as against its capacity of 307.
He gave the breakdown as 506 awaiting trial, short term convicts 7, long term convicts 91, detainees 9, Lifers 45 and Inmates on Death Row 215.
Expressing hope that the Chief Judge would use the auspices visit to decongest the centre by releasing some inmates, Mr. Efiong appealed to her to use her good offices to influence the state governor to commute sentences of those on death row in the spirit of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act 2019 LFN.
He thanked the state government for domesticating the Act and giving the centre assistance in the area of drugs procurement for inmates and interventions through the Dame Edith Okowa’s O5 Initiative.

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