Edo CJ denies inmates’ pardon as insane prisoners return to custody

Edo CJ denies inmates’ pardon as insane prisoners return to custody

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The Chief Judge of Edo State, Justice Esther Edigin on Tuesday visited two Custodial Centres in Benin City, which came under attack by hoodlums who disguised as EndSARS protesters on October 20, 2020 and set over 1500 inmates free.

The CJ however, did not grant pardon to any of the inmates during the visit which was part of activities marking her retirement from service.

Justice Edigin had raised the expectations of some Awaiting Trial Persons (ATPS) who have being in custody for over six years and other aged inmates with terminal ailments.

Others are inmates with Low risk offenders, inmates sentenced to death who have exhausted all legal procedures for appeal and others for a period of 10-years had elapsed without execution of the sentence.

Justice Edigin who is the Chairman of the Administration of Criminal Justice Committee, dashed the hopes of some of the inmates including an awaiting trial inmate, Mr. Destiny Lucky during the visit to prison formations.

But the CJ however granted bail to awaiting trial inmates Mr. Osaretin Osamudiamen and Onoyede Godday.

Osamudiamen who had been on awaiting trial for 11 years and over 10 months for robbery and stealing in the sum of N250,000 and a surety in like sum while a 28-year-old, Mr. Onoyede Godday who was remanded since September 27, 2012 for armed robbery.

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A Non-Governmental Organization, ‘Hope Behind Bars’, represented by Barrister Emmanuel Okorie, drew the attention of the Chief Judge to the incident, stressing that the inmate has being in lawful custody for three years and 25 days for being a member of unlawful society.

He told the Chief Judge that the offence attracts 3-year jail teem if convicted in line with Section 64 of Criminal Code Law of Edo State and pleased with her to grant him pardon hence the inmate had spent more than the stipulated time in prison.

In her address, Justice Edigin expressed sympathy and solidarity with the Management, Officers and men of the Nigerian Correctional/Custodial Centres in Benin in connection with the prisons break.

She cautioned the inmates that are nursing the ambition to escape from lawful custody to be mindful of their actions.

Justice Edigin, appreciated the past and present Controller of the Correctional Service, Edo State Command for a good working relationship.

She also said the government would prevent the reoccurrence of jail break in Edo State, adding that the government is not unmindful of the current security challenges in the Country.

In a remark, Mr. Amayo Osadolor, deputy Controller of Oko Medium Custodial Centre, said two mentally deranged inmates on death row had voluntary returned to the lawful custody.

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He explained that the families of the inmates may have returned them due to the pressure of their mental health challenges.

Osadolor stated that non of the criminals on death row who fled from the Custodial Centre when it was breached by hoodlums.

Recall that the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) had published the bio data of hundreds of the inmates including their names and photographs and displayed them at strategic locations in the State.

A few of the inmates voluntarily returned and re-arrested by security agents and taken back to prisons upon the expiration of the 21-Day Ultimatum that was issued by the Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki months ago.

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