By Stanley Nwanosike
Enugu – Enugu State Chief Judge (CJ), Justice Priscilla Emehelu, has set 24 inmates free from two different custodial centres within the state.
Emehelu, who was assisted by other judges in the state, also granted bail to 53 other inmates from Nsukka Custodial Centre and Enugu Custodial centre respectively.
At the Nsukka Custodial Centre, on Friday, the CJ commended the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS), Enugu State Command, for being proactive in checkmating the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the custodial centres.
She said that the jail delivery exercise was in line with the provisions of Section 1(1)a-b of the criminal justice (Release from custody) Special provisions Act, laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
“It is also in line with fundamental rights enshrined under Sections 34(1) and 35 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which guarantees the dignity of the human person and presumption of innocence of a person under going trial,’’ she said.
She noted that the challenge of congestion in various custodial centres had become worrisome to the judiciary.
She said that challenge of congestion indeed occupied the front burner more than ever before as nations all over the world were grappling with the monster called COVID-19, hence, the jail delivery exercise.
Emehelu, however, admonished the freed inmates to be of good behaviour and be law abiding citizens as they returned back to the society.
Earlier, Controller of Correctional Services in the state, Mr Joseph Emelue, thanked the CJ and her brother judges for the visit to custodial centres even in the face of COVID-19 pandemic.
Emelue said that the exercise was statutory and an important variable in custodial services management because it created ray of hope for inmates whose cases were reviewed by the chief judge.
“We have ensured strict COVID-19 Protocol observation in the custodian centres and we thank God that the correctional service in Enugu State has not recorded any case of COVID-19,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the CJ had on Wednesday, reviewed 200 cases at the Enugu custodial centre.
NAN reports that the while the CJ freed 22 inmates, she, however, granted 46 other inmates bail in liberal terms.
In Nsukka custodial centre, where over 50 cases were heard, with two inmates set freed, seven inmates were granted bail in liberal terms.
NAN reports a total of 77 inmates were either out rightly discharged or granted bail at the two correctional centres in the state.