Ten inmates of the Owerri Prisons have been let off the hook, to breathe the air of freedom following a jail delivery held by the Imo State Chief Judge, Justice Pascal Nnadi.
In exercise of the powers bestowed on him by the criminal justice Special Provision Act, the Imo State Chief Judge, Justice Nnadi has ordered the management of Imo State prison command led by Comptroller Ifeanyi Amaliri to immediately effect the release of 5 prison inmates and to assist with the bail granted 5 other inmates.
Those automatically released include; Chinaza Oguzie, Afam Azike, Ahamefule Ejiofor, Ikechukwu Cosmas and Ogbonna Nzerem.
In the same vain, Nnaemeka Onuoha and Chidi Ikenga were granted bail to the tune of five hundred thousand naira (N500,000) each while Chidiebere Amadi and Ifeanyi Afumonye were slammed with two hundred thousand naira (N200,000) bailout fee.
Chidi Onyeri who had already been granted bail but could not meet up with the bail terms was asked to comply with the court conditions while accelerated hearing was ordered by the CJ on all matters which he has granted bail.
Before making the pronouncements, the Chief Judge informed the court that the exercise only concerns those awaiting trial and sentences, stating that those already sentenced for various offences will not benefit from the exercise.
At the end of the exercise, the Chief Judge noted that all cases relating to inmates who require medical attention has been compiled and will soon be followed according to the provisions of the law. He added that a committee will soon be set up to comprise Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, members and staff of Ministry of Justice to see to the speedy decongestion of Imo State Prison.
He however directed the prison comptroller to compile separate lists of inmates who have stayed above four years without trial and above so as to assist the committee in the course of their exercise. Before arising from the court room, Justice Nnadi promised to repeat the exercise before the end of the year in order to assist in the speedy decongestion of the prison.
In his speech, comptroller Ifeanyi Amaliri said it is unfortunate that Imo prisons which was constructed with inmate capacity of 548, now houses 2228 inmates stating that such outrageous number is in excess of the prison capacity. He however explained that since an alternative measure is yet to come their way, the prison management will continue to manage the spaces in the way they can in order to keep the prison active.
The prison boss thanked the Chief Judge for the exercise and urge him to keep his promise of visiting again soon, to assist with the decongestion exercise.