There was wild jubilation in the Warri Medium Prison as the Chief Judge of Delta State, Justice Marshal Umukoro released a large number of inmates back to society as he concludes his 2017 quarterly Prison visit in the Warri Medium Prison.
Those released include a nursing mother of a two months old baby who was standing trial for grievous harm and several others who regained their freedom to reunite with their families for the Christmas celebration.
The Chief Judge ordered their released amidst jubilation on the grounds of ill health, lack of diligent Prosecutions by the Police, offence committed not known to law and no case to answer based on the legal advice from the Attorney-General of the State through the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Other criteria used by the CJ to free the inmates from captivity was on the ground of the validity of the remand warrants whether it was issued by a court of competent jurisdiction, the period the inmate has spent in custody awaiting trial and other exceptional circumstances.
Justice Marshal reviewed 3036 remand warrants presented to him by the Controller of Prisons Delta State Command Sam Iyakoregha and released a total of number of 150 inmates from the Agbor, Ogwashi-Uku, Kwale, Sapele and Warri Prisons in an exercise that started on November 14, 2017, disclosed that the visitation was in pursuant to the provision of the Criminal Justice (Release from Custody (Special Provision) Act Cap, Volume 4, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and in order to exemplify the passionate desire of the Honourable Chief Judge to decongest the Prisons.
He said a majority of age bracket of inmates in custody fall within 17 and 27 years which according to Justice Umukoro, shows a gross dysfunction in our family system in the country, adding that many of them were from poor background but was quick to say that poverty should not be an excuse to go into crime.
A statement by Mgbakor E Uche, Public Relations Officer, Delta Command noted that CP (Controller of Prisons) Sam Iyakoregha thanked the State Government on its effort to decongest the Prisons and unite families this Yuletide Period.
Meanwhile, in tandem with its established customs during festive period, the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) has tightened security in detention facilities to ensure maximum protection of life and property.
The Controller of Prisons Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command, Sylvester Nwakuche has disclosed this during his tour of prisons formation within FCT.
He said the essence was to forestall security breaches before, during and after the yuletide.
The Controller of Prisons urged prison officials to be vigilant and work in line with the vision of the present administration of the Controller General of Prisons Ahmed Jafaru on humane treatment of inmates.
He further enjoined the inmates to be peaceful and open to learning the various reformatory processes that are available in the prisons.
He commended staff and inmates of Dukpa farm Centre for the bumper harvest recorded this which included bags of paddy rice, different species of maize, soya beans and stacks of crates of eggs.
He disclosed that the farm Centre would soon be a Centre for alternative sentencing.
He generally advised the officers and men of the command not to jeopardize security in their different beats while taking into cognizance that the yuletide season is a season that calls for more security consciousness.
The facilities visited during the tour included Kuje prison, Suleja prison and Dukpa model farm Centre.
Others are prison industrial complex, the FCT poultry unit and the k9 kennel unit.
Also, Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom has granted amnesty to 18 inmates (released), commuted 4 other inmates’ death sentences to life imprisonment and reduced the sentence of an inmate from 21 to 18 years of imprisonment.
The benefiting inmates are from Benue State but were transferred to serve their sentences in Plateau and Taraba States.
Granting of the amnesty was sequel to the recommendations of good conduct, remorsefulness and illness of the inmates made by Benue State Prisons authority led by the Controller of Prisons, Mr. Peter Pevigo in the meeting of Benue State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy held on 4th day of December, 2017.
The Controller of Prisons, Mr. Peter Pevigo thanked the governor of Benue State for helping in prison decongestion and making the released Prisoners to celebrate with their loved ones in this Christmas.