Azubuije Ehirio, 86; his son, Ehiodo, 33, and cousin, Ngozi Onyekwere— all members of the same family sentenced to death by hanging by an Abia State High Court in 2005 have been released unconditionally from Enugu Maximum Prisons.
The family members, who hailed from Isiala Ngwa in Abia State, were convicted for murder were released by the Presidential Committee on Prisons Reform and Decongestion that visited the Enugu Maximum Prisons.
Chairman of the committee, Justice Ishaq Bello, said that the committee, after reviewing the circumstances that led to their incarceration and subsequent conviction of the inmates, had to set them free.
According to the eldest convicted member, when their matter was called up, they were unjustly convicted by the court and had no money to go on appeal.
He revealed how he had a dispute with a member of their community, who had planned to take possession of their ancestral land by force.
However the man’s child, Emeka was killed by armed robbers within the same time they had the dispute with the man — which led to their arrest.
According to him, “my son, who was living in Port Harcourt at the time, heard that I was arrested by the Police and came back. The man also arrested him along with my cousin.”
He said they were charged to court on a trumped murder charge, convicted and sentenced to death by hanging and their family had no money to go on appeal, adding that they had been in prison for 14 years for an offence they did not commit.
Upon listening to the submission and reviewing their remand notice, Bello expressed the desire of the committee to set them free.