· Discloses plans to partner with Prophet Oladele to release innocent ones
By Evelyn Usman
Legal practitioner, Mr Monday Ubani , has lamented the plights of awaiting trial inmates in correctional facilities across the country, revealing that most of them might spend the rest of their lives there and might never have their cases come up in court because they had no case files.
He said some of the awaiting trial inmates were innocent persons who were arrested on mistaken identity while others were detained and slammed with unnecessary stringent bail conditions they could not meet up.
Briefing journalists in Lagos, Ubani revealed that before now, lawyers could perfect bail conditions of an accused person, but lamented that such moves had been hampered by the absence of the Police.
Calling on the need for an urgent review of the Criminal Justice system in the country, he also urged the Chief Justice of the Federation and the Nigeria Bar Association to look into plights of inmates languishing in correctional centres for crimes they did not commit.
Taking the lead in the fight for justice for innocent inmates, Ubani disclosed that he would be partnering with the General Overseer of Celestial Church of Christ, Genesis Global Parish, Prophet Isreal Oladele , who is also an inmate in one of the Correctional centres in Lagos.
Ubani explained that his decision to team up with Oladele, was borne out of the latter’s move to secure the release of inmates who were thrown into prison owing to what he described as imperfect administration of the criminal justice system.
He revealed that so far, Oladele had perfected the release of 82 innocent inmates, citing an instance of one Azeez Ibrahim, whom he said regained freedom recently at the intervention of the prophet, having spent ten years and six months at the Kirikiri correctional centre for wrong identification.
According to Ubani, “Some inmates were even arrested by the police without committing any offence, some were arrested on mistaken identities, while others were detained and given unnecessary stringent bail conditions that they cannot meet up with. The chief justice of Nigeria, NBA, rights groups and the media, should rise up to this challenge. We all should be worried about the criminal justice system in the country. My position is that we should cry out.
“What attracted me to the Prophet is the stories I read about his spiritual and human efforts towards those who are in correctional custody in our correctional facilities at Kirikiri, Lagos. The story is that he is making the efforts to win more souls for Christ. He makes donations of food and toiletries to the inmates, which to us, is the true traits of true Christianity, which is represented by love for God and humanity.
“Of utmost excitement to me personally and our law firm is the issue of facilitating the release of some of the inmates that have been in detention awaiting trials for a good number of years. I am sure you are aware of the story of Azeez Ibrahim, who regained his freedom recently at the instance of the prophet. The man narrated how he wrongly served 10 years and six months at Kirikiri correctional centre for wrong identification.
“Those who have regained freedom so far through the effort of the prophet and his church have risen to about 82 inmates.
“We got interested in knowing this great apostle of God and we are interested in partnering with him to secure the lives of those that are being wasted in prison by our imperfect administration of the criminal justice system.
“However, we got more than we bargained for. He told us the story of his sojourn to the correctional centre at Apapa. We demanded a copy of the Apostle’s judgment that pronounced his conviction and sentence.
“Sad at some of the events that led to his conviction. We are glad that the conviction is being challenged seriously by a very senior and competent lawyer based in Lagos. It is our conviction that justice shall be served at the appellate jurisdiction. There are clearly yawning gaps in the entire story leading to his trial and conviction. We are worried that the exonerating report of the Alagbon Police authority that was the last to investigate the whole incidence was never taken into consideration at the trial court. As said earlier, these and many more shall be strengthened in due course,” Ubani stated.