Sunday, May 19, 2024

Edo chief judge frees four inmates

Three inmates were from the Oko Medium Custodian Centre, while the fourth was from the Old Benin Custodian Centre.

• April 16, 2024
Justice Daniel Okungbowau(Credit: Edo state judiciary)
Justice Daniel Okungbowau(Credit: Edo state judiciary)

Edo chief judge Daniel Okungbowa, on Tuesday, freed four inmates of the Oko and Old Benin Correctional Centres in the South district of the state.

Three inmates were from the Oko Medium Custodian Centre, while the fourth was from the Old Benin Custodian Centre.

The four freed inmates are Emmanuel Marcus, 35; Innocent Eze, 25; Benedict Oko, 27; and Obasogie Caleb, 27.

Mr Marcus, a native of Akwa-Ibom, was charged with raping a 17-year-old girl but had been in detention since January 20, 2023, without undergoing trial.

Mr Eze, from Delta, who was charged with armed robbery, had spent one year and five months without a case file.

Also from Delta, Mr Oko, charged with kidnapping, had spent one year and four months without a trace of his case file.

Similarly, Mr Caleb, from Edo, had spent a year and four months without a case file detailing his robbery and murder charges.

The CJ, therefore, discharged and released the quartet for not being able to provide their case files and evidence against them.

He said the inmates could not continue to be in detention while waiting for the police to find their missing case files.

Mr Okungbowa, however, urged beneficiaries of his gesture not to abuse the privilege but rather see it as another God-given opportunity to turn over a new leaf.

“Today is especially significant to me for the very obvious reason that it is my first visit to Correctional Centres in Edo State as the chief judge and chairman of the Edo State Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee (ACJMC).

“Although it must be said that I have previously visited these facilities for jail delivery exercises such as this, many times with my predecessor(s) in office.

“Section 470(2) of Edo State, Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2018, has entrusted the ACJMC with the mandate to ensure that criminal matters are speedily dealt with and congestion of criminal cases in courts are drastically reduced,” the CJ had earlier said.

He affirmed his commitment to ensure that no one was made to stay in custody one day longer than necessary unless as prescribed by law.

Osogun Olusegun and Idowu Enodiakemhe, deputy controllers of Oko and Benin facilities, respectively, requested more vehicles to ease the movement of inmates to and from the courts.

They noted that the correctional centres currently serve about 60 different courts in the state.

They also called for court cells to temporarily house inmates during court sittings before they were taken back to the correctional centres.

They said this would enhance safety and avert the possibility of inmates attempting to escape within the court premises. 


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