May 20, 2024

18 Makurdi prison inmates granted pardon by Benue Chief Judge


By Peter Duru, Makurdi

No fewer than 18 prison inmates at the Makurdi Medium Correctional Centre have been granted pardon while 15 others were given bail without strigent conditions by Justice Maurice Ikpambese-led Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee in Benue state.

The Committee which is headed by the Chief Judge of the state granted the clemency after reviewing 120 remand cases and promised to give acceleration hearing to the cases of other inmates at the Correctional Centre.

According to a statement issued in Makurdi by the Public Relations Officer of the Benue State Judciary, Stephen Tsegba, the pardon was granted the inmate at the end of a two day visit of the Committee members to the Centre.

He said “the visit was led by Justice Maurice Ikpambese, the Chief Judge of Benue State who also doubles as the Chairman, Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee.

“He led other members including the Commissioner of Police Benue State, Controller of Corrections Benue State Command, the Director Public Prosection, Chairman Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Makurdi Branch and member and the Secretary of the Committee on a two day visit to the Makurdi Medium Correctional Centre.

“The Chief Judge said the visit was aimed at reducing overcrowding at the prison since there is a recurring problem of awaiting-trial detainees in our prisons.

“The team sat and reviewed over 120 cases of inmates that were held in remand for issues ranging from robbery, culpable homicide, illegal possession of fire arms/ammunition, criminal conspiracy, murder, rape among others.

“After a careful review, a total of 18 inmates were pardoned and discharged due to several reasons including want of diligent prosecution, period in remand custody exceeding the sentence commensurate to their alleged crimes, and on account of administrative irregularities such as missing case files.

“Also 15 inmates were granted bail without strigent conditions while the cases of the rest of the inmates would be giving acceleration hearing.

“At the end of the session, the Chief Judge thanked members of the committee for their sacrifices, attention and cooperation that made the exercise a success.”

The statement noted that among those that regained their freedom was an inmate who was in custody for two years and eight months without trial. “He was overwhelmed with joy and prayed that the exercise be sustained so that the gesture would be extended to other inmates in custody.”