The Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Adama Iyayi-Lamikanra, has granted pardon to 76 inmates, due to prison congestion.
The beneficiaries of the judicial pardon included inmates at Degema prisons in Degema Local Government Area and Port Harcourt Maximum Security Prisons.
The 76 persons, who were released by the Chief Justice during a visit to the two rehabilitation facilities, were on awaiting trial for several alleged crimes they had committed within the state.
Southern City News gathered that the inmates had been on awaiting trial and have spent 10 years and above in the prison custody without being properly charged to court.
Some have not been formally charged to court by the Director of Public Prosecution and have stayed three years and above in the prison custody.
Others are under-aged inmates, those who were under serious health condition and those that committed minor offences and have overstayed their punishment if convicted by the court.
Iyayi-Lamikanra, while presiding over a special court session at the Degema prisons had granted pardon to 21 inmates and discharged 55 inmates at the Port Harcourt Maximum Prison on Thursday.
He had made reference to the Rivers State Administrative Criminal Justice Law of 2015, which empowered the CJ of the state to discharge and acquit prisoners awaiting trial.
The Chief Justice, who said that the exercise was meant to hold quarterly or annually, regretted that for over ten years such exercise had not been carried out, adding that the prisons were over crowded.
She said advised the beneficiaries to appreciate their freedom by abstaining from crime and acts that would bring them back to the prison.
Meanwhile, the State Comptroller of Prison, Mr. Amaliri Ifeanyi, had earlier told the court that the prison was over congested, accommodating over 4167 inmates.
Commending the CJ for the move to decongest the prisons, Ifeanyi said, “The reduction of inmates from the prisons will make the prison be calm, stable and inmates will never breakout of the prison.”
Source: ( Punch Newspaper)