17 inmates regain freedom in Warri, Sapele, Kwale prisons

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From Joseph Obukata, Warri

A total number of seventeen inmates have been released from Warri, Sapele and Kwale Custodial Centres by the Delta State Chief Judge, Honourable Justice Tessy Diai.

The inmates were pardoned during the jail delivery exercise by the chief judge, bring the total number of cases of awaiting trial inmates reviewed by the Chief Judge at 1105.

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As the Kwale Custodial Centre, four inmates including one, Gabriel Isicheri from Umolu in Ndokwa East Local Government Area accused of murder was pardoned by the chief judge.

Isicheri stated that the villagers accused him of killing his own daughter who got sick and died. He stated that even when he explained that the daughter passed away as result of ailment in the hospital the Police still went ahead to charge him for a crime he knew nothing about.

Another inmate, Azubike Andrew and Sunday Emema narrated how vigilante group in their community falsely accused them of conspiracy to murder and arson.

Speaking, justice Diai enjoined Director of Public Prosecutions, DPP, in the Ministry of Justice to assist in quick dispensation of Justice by rendering legal opinion without delay.

Justice Diai who reviewed a total of 277 warrant cases of inmates awaiting trial in the Centre, stated that the fortunate defendants were released based on legal opinion of Director of Public Prosecutions to the effect that they had no case to answer.

A statement by Functioning Director,


Protocol/PR Department, High Court of Justice, Agbaragu Timothy, Esq., on Thursday, said that Justice Diai enjoined state counsel in the Ministry of Justice to ensure diligence prosecution of cases, warning that undue delay of matters would make the court strike out such cases on ground of lack of diligent prosecution.

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The Chief Judge expressed surprise when some inmates standing trial on capital offences brought to her knowledge that they had no legal representation, stressing that no matter the severity of an alleged offence a defendant standing trial for capital offence was entitled to fair hearing and a lawyer.

Justice Diai commended prison officers of Kwale Custodial Centre for their efficiency and diligence in reproducing inmates regularly in courts despite challenges faced.

She pointed out that though correctional centres were under the Exclusive List in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 ( as amended ) the number one Judicial Officer of the State hinted that she has taken up the issue of provision of additional vehicles with the State Governor, and that something was being done about it.

Earlier in a welcome address, the Assistant Controller of Corrections, Egwuatu Joseph disclosed that lack of functional vehicles has hampered efforts of the centre to reproduce inmates in the 32 courts spread across four local governments.

Mr. Egwuatu who revealed that the Kwale Custodial Centre established in 1906 has the capacity of housing 262 inmates, pointed out that inability of courts to attend to custody cases had exposed them to security challenges.

He therefore appealed to the Chief Judge to use her good office to influence the state government to assist in the efficient performance of their duty.

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