Wednesday, November 4, 2015 10:12 pm
A total of 39, 577 prison inmates are currently on the awaiting trials list nationwide, the Chief Judge of Edo State, Justice Cromwell Idahosa, has said.
Idahosa who made this revelation on Wednesday at the Oko Medium Security Prison in Benin, during the visit of the Edo State Administration of Justice Committee, to the prison facility where he granted freedom to eight awaiting trial inmates, said most prisons in the country had become over populated and starved of adequate healthcare, sanitation and recreational facilities.
He expressed hope that the new Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, which was signed into law in May, would address many of the challenges faced by the judiciary, adding that the new law was already being worked on by the state Ministry of Justice, in order to domesticate it in Edo.
Idahosa decried what he described as “bloated prison cells” which created numerous challenges in the administration of justice in the state. He noted that the prolonged nationwide strike embarked upon by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria contributed to the delay in the judicial system.
Inmates granted freedom included Isaiah Michael, who was remanded for alleged armed robbery since 10 January, 2009, and Mohammed Buba, (the two had spent five years and five months in prison custody awaiting trial). Others are Christian Ikekiaye and Festus Abukari, who have spent three years and eight months and four years and two months in prison custody respectively for alleged armed robbery. Also included are Otamere Iyase, Ali Bello, Abubakar Ali and Ajauro Unuahro, who had spent a year and six months and was said to have no case to answer.
One of the freed inmates, Buba, told the committee that he was arrested while selling onions in Benin for alleged conspiracy and armed robbery and had been remanded in prison custody since 20 April, 2010.
The father of two, who hails from Bornu State, however, expressed gratitude to the state government for granting him freedom and said that he hoped to return to his family in the North East.