DELTA State Chief Judge,
Justice Marshal Umukoro has
released 26 inmates awaiting
trial in the Agbor prison
during the ongoing prisons
visit, which commenced on
Tuesday.
Most of the inmates whose
ages range from 19 to 30
years old were released on
the grounds of ill health,
want of diligent prosecution,
inordinate long detention
in prison custody and on
the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution that some
of them have no case to answer.
The Chief Judge who granted
the release of the 26 inmates
out of the 397 cases reviewed
stated that the exercise was
not meant to throw the gates
of prisons open to accused
persons awaiting trial for
various criminal offences, but
to ascertain the validity of their
detention, ability to withstand
trial and whether their cases
were going on progressively.
While commending some
members of the lower Bench
(Magistrates) for their hard
work, diligence and dexterity
in handling matters brought
before them, Justice Umukoro
however, frowned at the lack of
seriousness exhibited by some,
saying since they were the ones
to inherit the institution of
justice at the higher echelon of
the Judiciary they should show
more seriousness and prove
their mettle.
The assistant controller
of Agbor prison, E. A.
Ozili commended the State
Chief Judge for religiously
performing his constitutional
obligation by yearly
embarking on prison visit in
the State to acquaint himself
with their conditions, even as
he appealed to him to direct
Judges and Magistrates to give
priority attention to custody
cases to enable prison wardens
return inmates to prison yards
on time for security reasons.
Speaking in an interview
shortly after their release,
Hobore Philip and Ogorume
Samuel, aged 22 and 21, said
that they were innocent of
the charges preferred against
them.
The duo that broke down in
tears of joy thanked God and
the State Chief Judge that they
have been exonerated atlast.
They promised to turn their
lives to God.
One shocking and baffling
incident that manifested
during the exercise was the
case of one of the inmates,
Daniel Ikpi Egu who claimed to
be a medical doctor arraigned
before Obiaruku Magistrate
Court 11 for motorcycle theft.
Answering questions from
the Chief Judge, Dr. Egu who
hails from Cross River State
averred that he was inducted in
2012, and was employed by his
State Government, adding that
in 2013 following industrial
strike action embarked upon
by medical doctors, he was
stacked along 3000 and, which
informed his relocation to
Port-Harcourt where engaged
in private practice.
He added that his ordeal
started when he was kidnapped
and found himself in Abraka
where he was arrested for
motorcycle theft.

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