Presidential committee releases 13 inmates in Akwa Ibom
The Presidential Committee on Correctional Reforms and Decongestion had released 13 inmates including a 70-year-old man from various Correctional Centres in Akwa Ibom State.
Chairman of the Presidential Committee and Chief Judge, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello disclosed this at the end of the decongestion exercise and facility tour of the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Monday, March 16, 2020.
A statement by the Deputy Director, Information in the Ministry of Justice, Mrs Modupe Ogundoro, explained that the 13 inmates were released in accordance with the mandate given to the committee.
The statement said the pardon for their release were based on those who were convicted of minor offences with an option of fines but were unable to pay, old age, ill-health, overstay of statutory detention period and other factors that could justify their release.
Justice Bello urged the released inmates to be of good conduct, not to involve in crimes that would likely bring them back to the correctional centre.
He commended the Controller of National Correctional Service, Akwa Ibom State, for being diligent and competent in doing the job noting the cleanliness and good environment of the Centre.
The Controller of Correctional Service, Akwa Ibom State, Mr Aleze Oditah, in his opening remarks, expressed difficulties and challenges encountered in the management of the inmates due to over population.
He disclosed that the Uyo Correctional Centre housed over 1,347 inmates overshooting its capacity of 612 inmates with about 70 per cent of them on awaiting trial.
Oditah, however, acknowledged that with the Ecological funding from the State Government, the renovation of the Correctional Centre is 70 per cent completed and this will give a sort of relief from challenges often experienced during the rainy season.
Earlier, during a courtesy call on governor Emmanuel Gabriel Udom, of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Bello explained that the Committee’s visit to the state was in line with Presidential mandate to decongest the Custodial Centers nationwide to meet with the international standard of criminal justice and human right standard.
He explained that the purpose of the visit was to review cases of inmates who have been convicted of minor offences with the option of fines and unable to pay same, review cases of inmates with special cases, to carrying out on spot assessment of the condition of the custodial centres and amongst others.
He appealed to the Governor to establish Skill Acquisition Centres in the Correctional Centres to enable inmates to acquire Skills while serving jail term and upon release, to enable them to continue normal life and integrate with the society.
In his response, Governor Udom said that the state had in the past supported with the construction/rehabilitation of some Correctional Centres in the state namely; Ikot Ekpene, Ikot Abasi and Uyo Correctional centres.
He promised to establish Skill Acquisition Centres in the Correctional Centres in partnership with Private Organisations.
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