From Joseph Obukata, Warri
There was anxiety and wild jubilation among inmates at the Nigerian Correctional Service, Okere-Warri, Delta State, yesterday, as 531 of them filed before the Chief Judge of Delta State, Justice Theresa Diai, for her statewide clemency programme around prison formations in the state.
Inmates who were listed for the chief judge’s pardon included those who were awaiting trials and had spent more than 10 years in detention.
Among those granted pardon and discharged were four named Goodluck, Destiny, Testimony and Daniel.
Daily Sun reports that as early as 7:30 in the morning, the Okere road had been cordoned off to stop vehicular movement, particularly the side where the correctional centre is located.
Prison wardens and armed policemen were stationed at strategic points for the exercise, which lasted till about 5pm when the road was opened to traffic flow.
After a period of call, four inmates scale through the state pardon programme of the chief judge which was still ongoing by press time.
Among them was Goodluck Sunday, a bricklayer who said he was indiscriminately arrested at Petroleum Training Institution (PTI) Junction while returning from work on August 11, 2017.
Goodluck was arraigned at the High Court, Effurun, and charged for conspiracy to commit armed robbery and kidnapping, with suit number: EHC/116C/18.
He had spent two years and seven months in prison custody after his case was adjourned 12 times, before he regained his freedom yesterday.
An elated Goodluck said; “I went to work when the police came to arrest some people around the place. Everyone started running and I joined them to run too but was held by the police and charged to court for armed robbery.
“I want to thank Mama Justice, our able chief judge for freeing me”, he said while expressing happiness over his freedom.
Another inmate who went emotional with a copy of a Holy Bible in his hand when he was freed was the one named Testimony Imoke, aged 35. Testimony said he was arrested unjustly after someone pointed at him as the one who sold a stole phone to him.
He was arraigned and charged for conspiracy, bulgary and robbery with suit nos ME/154C/21 at the Magistrate Court III Effurun but was pardoned by the chief judge amidst jubilation after spending 1 year in the correctional facility.
Destiny Julius, 29 charged for armed robbery in suit nos: MO/97C/19 since 2018 was also discharged and acquited after spending 2 years and 4 month at the maximam prison Okere.
Also, 29 year old Daniel Ejovi who was charged for conspiracy and arson with suit nos: CMU/38C/21 before Magistrate Court Otu-Jeremi was granted pardon after spending 4 months in jail.
Meanwhile, 531 awaiting trials inmates went through the exercise. Out of the number, 38 of them were transferred from the Ogwashi-Uku Correctional Center to Okere prison.
As at the time Daily Sun left the facility to file this report at about 5:pm, no single female inmate was sighted among the large number of male inmates who were shortlisted for the exercise which is expected to continue tomorrow.