Kogi chief judge releases 6 inmates in Okene prison

Chief Judge of Kogi state, Justice Nasir Ajanah, has unconditionally released six Awaiting Trial inmates at the Federal Prisons, Okene, in his renewed effort to decongest prisons.

The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that Ajanah released the inmates while reviewing the warrants of 82 awaiting trial inmates during his visit to the 160-capacity Medium Security Prison currently hosting 126 inmates including 41 convicts, three lifers and the awaiting trials.

Among the inmates freed was Aminu Mohammed charged with the rape of a four-year-old girl. He was discovered to have been framed up.

Another was Abdulazeez Shehu, charged with being a member of a robbery gang .

Shehu was discovered to have lost his parents to communal crisis in Ihima, lost the only surviving brother “to this case” and lost his limbs to police bullets during investigation.

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Adamu Paul, who was also freed, was a proven mental case.

Others are Emmanuel Shubi, alleged to have stolen cows; Khadijat Yahaya, incarcerated over inability to pay her debt for rice and Suleiman Zubair, detained for contempt of court without any evidence.

Ajanah said the rest could not be released because the offences for which they were charged were very serious. He said it would not serve the interest of justice, if they were released.

He however expressed displeasure over the unprofessionalism of the prosecution saying, “I must say that I am not quite happy with the attitude of the prosecution in particular, the Police and the Ministry of Justice.

“Most of the cases are those that I feel they should have rendered advice or they ought to have taken proper steps to ensure that the accused persons face trial.

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“It should be noted, as it is well known, that persons accused of any offence are presumed innocent until they are convicted.

“I felt very sad when I noticed that some of those standing trial have spent over one year in detention more than the time allowed by the constitution”, he said.

The Chief Judge therefore, called on Police and the Justice ministry to hasten the prosecution of the remaining accused persons to ensure justice.

On the part of the court, Ajanah directed the trial courts not to adjourn criminal cases beyond two weeks adding that they should not keep any case hanging.

To clear pending criminal cases, he said there would be another assizes between the months of November and December.

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