Police, Public Prosecutors Incarcerate Suspects For Years Without Trial — Akwa Ibom CJ As She Releases 45 Inmates

Ekaette Obot, the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State has expressed concern that the police and Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the State keep inmates in custodial centres without trial and some with no case for years.

On Friday, the chief judge who released 45 inmates across the State after a three-day facility visit to the Correctional Centres, urged the police officers in charge of legal matters and the DPP to ensure diligence in prosecution to avoid the destruction of the justice delivery system.

Obot further warned the police against unnecessary arrest and confinement of innocent persons in custodial centres without thorough investigation before charging them to court, adding that such arrest or confinement constituted a breach of the affected person’s constitutional rights.

Meanwhile the Akwa Ibom lawyer visited Ikot Abasi, Eket, Ikot Ekpene and Uyo correctional centres, according to News Agency of Nigeria.

Three inmates were pardoned from Ikot Abasi, nine were discharged and acquitted in Eket, 11 inmates were also freed from Ikot Ekpene while 22 inmates were released from Uyo correctional centres respectively.

According to her, some of the freed inmates had spent more years in the correctional centres than the penalty for the offence they were charged with.

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She told reporters in Uyo that some of the inmates had been in the facilities for between four and five years without being charged to court.

However, Obot called for the relocation of Eket Correctional Centre to decongest the facility for better management of inmates.

She adjudged that Ikot Abasi facility was good enough in the State while the Eket facility, the worst with a capacity of 123 but currently having 300 inmates.

“As I said at the beginning, Ikot Abasi was okay, and the capacity was not fully utilised. So, it was more organised than every other facility apart from Ikot Ekpene. Ikot Ekpene is the best facility we have in the state.

“Eket is the worst of all, it is limited in space and the number is overwhelming and they are not able to cater for the inmates there.

“I have suggested that the Custodial Centre’s authority in Abuja should negotiate with the governor of the state and even the community for a good space to relocate that facility for better management of the inmates,” she said.