JUBILATION IN ONITSHA PRISONS AS 13 AWAITING TRIAL INMATES REGAIN FREEDOM
Onitsha, Dec. 7, 2017 – Emotions and jubilations were high on Dec. 6 at Onitsha Prisons, as 13 awaiting trial inmates regain freedom, as Anambra State Chief Judge, Justice Peter Umeadi visited the facility, for jail delivery services.
One of them, 31-year-old, Chukwujekwu Ifejika was discharged by Justice Umeadi for a lack of criminal records of the accused.
Ruling on the case, Justice Umeadi said the prisoner should be discharged because the police did not file any case against him, for the crime he was being accused of.
He added that the suspect had been in prison custody for seven years without being charged to court.
Umeadi said: ``If the accused was convicted for the crime that he was accused of, he could have served seven years in prison and now he had already spent seven years here.
``And so, he should be discharged.’’
In an interview with journalists after his discharge, Ifejika, who was visibly happy to return to normal life, said it was regrettable that he lost his parents while he was incarcerated
He explained that his incarceration was borne out of not having anyone to speak for him, adding that was the reason he had been in prison for seven years being charged without being charged to court.
``I thank God above all things for my freedom today. I don't have anybody to speak for me as I lost my father and mother while in the prison.
``I am going back home to meet relations to tell them my story.
``My incarceration has opened doors for me to learn a lot of hand craft like painting, carpentry and tailoring.
``I am happy and if not for anything, I am going home with this knowledge. I was among the prisoners that painted some parts of the prison.’’
He, however, regretted the lackadaisical attitude of prison officers when it came to prisoner's going to court, saying that most times, the prison officials would claim there was no vehicle or petrol to take prisoners to court.
``Such experiences are painful to inmates because once you miss your court date, it will take a long time to get another opportunity," Ifejika added.
Another released detainee, Chiotu Eluemuno, 32 was granted bail by the Chief Judge with a bail in the sum of N50, 000 with a surety, which must be his mother.
In his ruling, Justice Umeadi expressed displeasure over the loss of case files of the accused at the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and then, ordered that the accused be granted bail.During the prison visit, the Chief Judge examined 22 cases, in what could be described as summary trials, leading to discharge of three persons, while 10 others got bail, with varying bail conditions.