By Agnes Nworie and Nwogha Ndubuisi Andy
In the spirit of decongesting the overpopulated Correctional custodial centers in Ebonyi state and ensure its easy management in the face covid 19 pandemic ravaging the world, the Ebonyi state chief judge, Justice Anselem Nwigwe has freed some inmates of the Nigerian Correctional Centres in Abakaliki and Afikpo respectively.
The freed inmates were mostly those who committed minor offences and those who had no case files despite the number of years already spent there, have never been taken to court and had spent more than the number of years they would have served jail term if they were convicted.
Citizens’ Advocate learnt the exercise is in accordance to directives from the government of the Federation in its combative measures against Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
The exercise held on Tuesday in Nigerian Correction Service Centre, Abakaliki brought about discharge of only 4 inmates, 14 were granted bails on various conditions while two got bail on self-recognition out of the 1,056inmates in the overpopulated center that day.
Meanwhile, at Afikpo Correctional centre only 7 inmates were discharged while 6 were granted bail on various conditions out of 142 inmates there as at Wednesday 29th April morning.
That is to say that 13 inmates have regained their freedom this week from the entire state through this exercise while 20 others are to struggle and meet up with their various bail conditions to be free.
Speaking with Newsmen, the Head of the Ebonyi Correctional centres, Mrs, Emilia Oputa advised the discharged inmates to be law-abiding in order to avoid facing the wrath of law, adding that they should build themselves with entrepreneurial skills acquired from the center and trades for their livelihoods.
Mrs. Oputa advised parents and guardians to be alive to their parental responsibilities as a way to decongest the juvenile remand homes.
Some of the freed inmates whose joy knew no bounds who spoke with newsmen in anonymous mode thanked the State chief judge for setting them free and promised to do everything possible to stay away from crimes and be better citizens of the country.
However, the State Chief judge adjourned the special court session to the 6th day of May 2020 for further decongestion exercise in Afikpo Correctional Centre.