RIVERS State Chief Judge, Justice Simeon Amadi, on Thursday, granted pardon to 53 inmates at the Port Harcourt Maximum Correctional Centre who are standing trial for various offences.
Amadi said that the pardon was part of the week-long programmes put in place by the state judiciary to herald the 2023/2024 Legal Year.
He stated that the development was also a move toward discongesting the maximum correctional centre in Port-Harcourt.
Amadi said that the release of the inmate was in line with the provisions of section 34(1) of the Criminal Justice Law of Rivers and the Special Provision Law of the federation that empowers the chief judge to grant such pardon.
He said that the release of the inmates had become imperative to ensure that justice was rightly served as well as for decongestion of the correctional centres.
He called for effective synergy among all stakeholders in the criminal administration system.
According to him, the judiciary, correctional services, law enforcement agencies, legal organisations and community leaders must work hand-in-hand for justice to prevail in the society.
Amadi said that a stakeholders’ meeting was held prior to the goal delivery exercise in order to scrutinise the list submitted by the correction centre and the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
This, he said, was to ascertain those who had no question to answer but were languishing in jail in the correctional centre.
He also called on the police to do discreet and thorough investigation in order to have enough evidence before charging any suspect to court.
The chief judge advised the released inmates to turn a new leaf and be of good behaviour, stressing that they might not be lucky next time if they were caught engaging in any crime and brought back to the correction centre.
“I came here for an exercise just to make you better citizens. No one wants you to die; you must have learnt something here; I urge you all to leave evil.
“As you go back to the village, let the change be seen in you; don’t go back to eat your vomit; go back and find something to do; you can engage in farming, fishing or learn hand work,” he stated.
Earlier in his remarks, the Comptroller of Correctional Service in the state, Mr Felix Lawrence, commended the effectiveness of the Criminal Justice Administration System in the state in the decongestion of Port-Harcourt Maximum Correctional Services.
Lawrence said that he met more than 4,000 inmates when he assumed duty in June 2022, adding, however, that the number had dropped due to the consistent goal delivery exercise by the chief judge.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the inmates granted pardon had been in the correction centre for between five and nine years awaiting trial. (NAN)
November 2, 2023 @ 20:04 GMT|