The Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Raymond Ozoemena, has discharged and acquitted no fewer than 32 inmates in three custodial centres within Enugu State during a jail delivery.
Ozoemena also granted bail to 104 inmates and released three juveniles brought to the Enugu Custodial Centre on July 22.
Declaring the jail delivery open on Friday, the chief judge said that the exercise was a sacred duty to ensure that “the rights of every citizen are not infringed upon”.
According to him, the jail delivery, which has 17 courts sitting, has ensured that every inmate will be accorded the constitutionally guaranteed right of fair hearing.
“This exercise has been carried out over the years by the Chief Judge and assisted by the Honourable Judges of the High Court in this sacred duty.
“I wish to thank the correctional centre and other stakeholders for their painstaking efforts to ensure that today’s exercise is hitch free.
“Permit me to also thank His Excellency, Dr Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for providing the financial support to enable us to carry out this exercise,” he said.
Controller of Corrections in Enugu State, Mr Nicholas Obiako, said that the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) under the leadership of Controller-General, Mr Haliru Nababa, was poised to provide opportunity for inmates to develop their capacities.
“The service has provided educational programmes up to university level and functional workshops; these programmes can only be realised if the inmates are reintegrated through exercise like this where their cases are fast tracked,” Obiako said.
He said that the jail delivery was an important tool for yard management as it was a ray of light which inmates looked forward to gain their freedom, as a behavioural guide while in custody.
“I am hopeful that this exercise under your lordship will lead to the release of deserving inmates which will help stabilised the custodial centres.
“Inmates from Nsukka and Oji-River Custodial Centres are all here for the cases to be heard and reviewed,” he said.
Later, Deputy Controller of Corrections in-charge of Enugu Custodial Centre, Mr Sunday Usifo, thanked the chief judge for the successful exercise as well as the unprecedented number of inmates discharged and bailed.
“We sincerely appreciate you and the judiciary under your jurisdiction for this noble achievement today because this has rekindled hope in our inmates.
“It will further strengthen the adage that ‘the judiciary is the last hope of the common man’,” Usifo said.