Justice Ekaette Obot, Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom, has pardoned 12 inmates from the Ikot Abasi and Eket Correctional Centres who have been awaiting trial for several years.
On Thursday, Obot granted the pardon after touring the facilities and attending to the inmates’ case files in Ikot Abasi and Eket Local Government Areas.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), three of the released inmates are from the Ikot Abasi correctional centre, while nine are from the Eket correctional centre.
During his visit, the chief judge also donated drugs and toiletries worth thousands of naira to the two correctional facilities for the benefit of the inmates.
NAN reports that there was a pathetic case in Ikot Abasi correctional centre where a young man, John Akpan, was accused of stealing a bunch of plantain from his uncle’s plantation and has been in custody for over 12 months without trial.
Another case was that of one Goodnews Isaiah, who was charged for assault and had been in custody for over 12 months without trial.
Isaiah was given an unconditional freedom by the chief judge, who urged him to be of good behaviour.
Also, Ime William of Ikot Abasi correctional centre who was accused of conspiracy and had been in custody for over three years was discharged and acquitted.
The chief judge also pardoned an 80 year-old-man, Ime Udoh, in Eket correctional centre who could barely walked and his son James Ime, who were charged for disobeying court order.
Obot said that some of the freed inmates had spent more years in prison than the penalty for the offence they were charged with.
She said that some others had been in the custodial centres for five years without being charged to court.
Obot enjoined the freed inmates to go and turn a new leaf, engage themselves in productive ventures and stay away from crimes as they might not be lucky to have another chance.
Earlier in his remarks at Ikot Abasi correctional centre, the Head of the centre, Mr Boniface Momoh, said that the custodial centre had the capacity for 230 but have 133 inmates.
Momoh thanked the chief judge for the facility tour of the centre to ascertain the condition of the centre and welfare of inmates in spite of her tight schedules.
He expressed the appreciation of the correctional centre and inmates to the chief judge, especially for the donation of drugs and toiletries to the centre. (NAN)