The Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Priscilla Emehelu, on Wednesday released 14 inmates unconditionally during the 2019 jail delivery at the Nigeria Correctional Service, Nsukka Custodian Centre.
Emehelu, who also granted bail to eight other inmates, urged them to endeavour to reform themselves and refrain from crime and criminality.
She further admonished them to make good of the second chance given to them to be better and reformed individuals to themselves and society.
She said: “I encourage those released today and those released in previous exercise to ensure they reformed themselves and stay away from all forms of criminality.
“See your release as second chance to be better and reformed individuals to yourselves and society.
“Today’s jail delivery is not for convicted inmates or inmates whose cases are pending in court but those detained above their jail term without trial.”
She urged parents and relations of the freed inmates as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to come to the aid of inmates previously granted bail but could not meet their bail conditions.
“I call on NGOs, parents and relations to come forward to the Chief Judge’s Court in Enugu State High Court to perfect the bail conditions of these inmates.
“The objective of this exercise is to decongest correctional centres in the state as well as ensure justice,” she said.
She commended the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Millitus Eze, for the sustained improvement in prompt filing of information and proofs of evidence.
“I urge you and your able team to keep it up as well as improve on the successes,” she said.
The chief judge urged the staff members of Nigerian Correctional Service to always bring the inmates standing trial to court.
According to her, it is the constitutional right of inmates to be provided adequate time and facilities to stand their trials.
“The denial is a bench of constitutional right as well as fundamental right of these inmates,” she said.
In a remark, Mr Ja’afaru Ahmed, the Comptroller General of Nigeria Correctional Service, commended the chief judge for her commitment in the exercise which, he said, had gone a long way in decongesting centres in Enugu State.
Ahmed, who was represented by Mr Christopher Ezema, Deputy Comptoller General In-charge of Nsukka Correctional Centre, said officers of the centre would continue to do their best to ensure better welfare for inmates.
“I commend Enugu State judiciary for its commitment to give justice to inmates as well as decongest correctional centres in the state,” he said.
Speaking with newsmen, two of the 14 freed inmates thanked God for making it possible for them to regain their freedom.
Maduabuchukwu Ugwu said he was accused of armed robbery and had been detained since 2015.
Also, Livinus Edeoga said he had been in prison custody since 2017 because he fought with his younger brother.
NAN gathered that Nsukka Correctional Centre was built to accommodate 185 inmates but presently have at least 300 inmates.