No fewer than 129 prisoners were granted pardon in three prisons in Enugu State by the state Chief Judge, Justice Priscilla Emehelu as she concludes the 2018 jail delivery sessions.
Mrs Emehelu on Tuesday, during the conclusion of the exercise in Oji-River Minimum Security Prison, urged the released prisoners to, henceforth, desist from crime and lead a reformed life.
She said the exercise was in accordance with Section 1 (a,b) of the Criminal Justice (Release from Custody) Special Provisions Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2007 and Sections 34 (1), 35 (1) and 36 (5) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended).
Mrs Emehelu lamented the congestion in various prisons in the state and called for immediate measures to address deviant behavoiur in the society.
“We, judges are mindful of the onerous challenge of prison congestion and have consistently worked with stakeholders in the justice sector to ensure speedy and sustained case flow management.
“It is part of the commitment to effective justice delivery that necessitates our periodic visit to prisons, to provide bail and the release of inmates who have exceeded required prison term,” she said.
The chief judge pledged commitment of the judiciary to ensuring speedy dispensation of justice and expressed optimism that modern prisons would soon be built across the country, as promised by the Minister of Interior.
She assured that another session of the exercise would be conducted in December, to further decongest the prisons.
Mrs Emehelu commended the Controller of Prisons in Enugu state, Ndubuisi Ogbodo, for ensuring that Enugu prisons becomes a reference point for others.
Earlier, the Controller of Enugu Prisons Command, Mr Ogbodo appealed to the Chief Judge for clemency to sick old and juvenile inmates.
Mr Ogbodo said inmates recommended for pardon were now reformed and had pledged to desist from committing any crime that could land them in prison again.
“These ones have embraced the service change mantra imbued in them through the Prisons Special Study Centre of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) programme.
“They performed excellently well in the programme at the undergraduate and post-graduate level with outstanding results and will be easily accepted back into the society,” he said.
He thanked the Chief Judge for her cooperation and described as `unprecedented’ the number of inmates pardoned during the exercise.
A pardoned inmate, Ndubuisi Nwabueze, expressed happiness that he would go home after serving two years in prison.
He was sentenced in 2016 after being found guilty of attempted murder.(NAN)