Imo State Comptroller of Prisons, Mr. Ifeanyi I. Amaliri, has said the Federal Prisons, Owerri, originally built to accommodate only 548 inmates is now housing a total of 1,827 persons.
According to him, of this number, only 164 of the inmates are serving varying jail terms, while a staggering 1,663 persons are awaiting trial.
Amaliri disclosed this while receiving the State Chief Judge, Justice Benjamin A. Njemanze, who was at the prison establishment on jail delivery exercise.
10 persons said to be awaiting trial for more than seven years, including three persons whose illnesses were likely to terminate in death, were discharged by Justice Njemanze.
Presenting the case of Osolase Ehis, who was remanded since February 3, 2009, without trial, the Prison medical personnel, Dr. Innocent Chukwuezi, informed the chief judge that the accused person was now suffering paralysis on both legs.
“The accused person has severe paralysis on both legs. He also exhibits some element of psychiatric problem.
“Since the medical facilities in this prison cannot properly take care of his ailment, he should be allowed to go on medical grounds,” Dr. Chukwuezi pleaded with the chief judge.
Similarly, Iheanyi Anuforo, who was only 19 years when he was incarcerated December 20, 2010, now suffers from what the medical doctor termed immuno-suppression.
He was also discharged by the chief judge.
While Joanah Adaoha Igbosonu was set free on health ground, Chukwudi Amaechi, Chinedu Ekechukwu and Mmaduabuchi Ezeh were said to have committed minor offences but had stayed in custody longer than they would have spent if they were actually convicted.
Speaking after the exercise, Justice Njemanze expressed concern that no member of the human right commission was present at the event, despite being invited.