13 inmates freed from Akwa Ibom correctional facility

About 13 inmates in the Akwa Ibom State Correctional Centre were on Monday, granted pardon by the Presidential Committee on Correctional Reforms and Decongestion, led by its Chairman, Justice Ishaq Bello. Two out of the 13 were released based on their ill health, while 11 others convicted of minor offences got their freedom after the Akwa Ibom State government had paid for their option of fines.

Justice Bello, pronounced their release after the facility tour of the centre and going through their case files in Uyo. Bello, who is also the Chief Judge of the High Court, Federal Capital Territory, said the inmates were released based on the mandate given to the committee. He said that the pardon was based on ground of ill health and those who were convicted of minor offences with option of fines but were unable to pay. He added that the State Government has magnanimously agreed to settle the fines on behalf of the convicted inmates and set them free. His words, “we have in our mandate to look at those who have overstayed the sentence year, the aged, those that have health challenges and those who committed minor offences and have options of fines but could not pay. The total inmates released are 13 from the Correctional Centre, out of this, 11 of them had their option of fine paid. Two were released on ground of ill health. I want to commend the Comptroller for this show of diligence and competence in doing the job.” The chairman, however, advised the released inmates to be of good conduct, not to involve in crimes that may bring them back to the correctional centre. He urged them to associate with people of good character to be better citizens for themselves and the country. He also lauded the comptroller for the clean environment of the correctional centre.

Earlier in his remarks, the State Comptroller of the Correctional service, Mr. Alex Oditah thanked the Committee for their efforts to decongest the Custodial centres in Akwa Ibom State. He noted that these Centres were being overstretched, citing Uyo Custodial Centre which had a capacity of 613 inmates, but now had over 1300 inmates. Highpoint of the event was the donation of books by the committee to enhance reading culture of inmates.

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