By Ushang Ewa
The Chief Judge of Cross River State, Justice Michael Edem has released a total of 124 inmates on awaiting trial with minor offences during a two day visit to the Afokang maximum security prisons in Calabar, the state capital.
Mr. Edem said that the exercise was constitutional and the inmates freed were selected based on health issues and juvenile status.
“It is constitutionally done based on merit ground and not on my personal discretion. You can see also that, majority of the inmates were released based on Health grounds, while others are juvenile,” he said and advised the released inmates to be of good conduct.
“This is not the end of the road for you. Get into the society, be of good behaviour and find something profitable to do for the betterment of your life and that of the society,” he said.
This was affirmed by the Prison’s spokesperson, Mr. Effanga Etim who called on the public to embrace the inmates to give them a sense of belonging.
Mr. Etim, an Assistant Controller of Prisons said that: “The 124 inmates were released on medical ground and were certified by the command Medical personnel, Dr. Etinan Ndon. Although, few were juveniles.”
He continued: “They were just awaiting inmates and not convicts. Therefore the society should give them an equal opportunity to fit in as well as add value to their communities. Nobody should discriminate them.”
Meanwhile, the state controller of prisons, Mr. Imaikop Ndaekong, commended the Chief Judge for the exercise and sued for more collaboration.
“I commend your efforts as the first Chief Judge to make that historical move, following the synergy you’ve shown today, particularly to the welfare of inmates that gave birth to this release,” said Mr. Imaikop.
The exercise which concluded last weekend was also witnessed by the officer in charge of Calabar prison, DCP Godwin Onokohwomono, the officer in charge of medicals, DCP Etinan Ndon; the officer in charge of welfare, DCP A.B Odey and several other members of the state’s judiciary.
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