Posted by Ifeoma Okafor, Awka | 6 December 2017 | 1,746 times
A 31-year-old prison inmate, Chukwujekwu Ifejika, has been discharged by the Anambra State Chief Judge, Justice Peter Umeadi for lack of criminal records of the accused.
His freedom came following Justice Umeadi's yearly visit of the prisons in the state.
Ruling on the case, Justice Umeadi said that the suspect should be discharged for lack of case file, adding that the suspect had been in prison custody for seven years without any hearing in court.
He said: “If the accused was convicted for the crime he was accused of, he would have served seven years in prison and he has already spent seven years here. So, he should be discharged.”
Throughout the seven years Ifejika spent at the Onitsha prison his case was never heard in court.
In an interview with journalists after his discharge, Ifejika, who was visibly happy to return to normal life, regretted that he lost his parents while he was incarcerated
He explained that his incarceration was borne out of not having anyone to speak for him.
His words: “I thank God above all things for my freedom today. I don’t have anybody to speak for me and I lost my father and mother while I was in the prison. I am going back home to meet relations to tell them my story.
“My incarceration has opened doors for me to learn a lot of handcraft like painting, carpentry and tailoring. I am happy if not for anything, I am going home with this knowledge. I was among the prisoners that painted some parts of the prison.”
He however regretted the lackadaisical attitude of prison officers regarding prisoners going to court, saying that most times the prison officials would claim there was no vehicle or fuel to take prisoners to court.
“Such experience pains inmates because once you miss court date, it would take a long time to get another opportunity,” Ifejika added.
Chiotu Eluemuno, 32, was granted bail by the Chief Judge with a sum of N50,000 and a surety, who must be his mother
In his ruling, Justice Umeadi expressed displeasure over the loss of case file of the accused at the office of the Director of Public Prosecution, and therefore ordered that that the accused be granted bail.
Also discharged was Musa Mohammed, a 31-year-old Taraba State indigene, who was imprisoned for possession of fake currency. He had already served five years in prison.
Justice Umeadi ruled that the accused would have served only three months in prison or a fine of N1,000 but he had served five years therefore he should be released.
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