Twelve inmates at the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Aguata were on Thursday set free by the Chief Judge of Anambra State, Justice Onochie Anyachebelu, as he continues his jail delivery exercise.
TNC correspondent in Anambra gathered that cases for which the freed inmates were detained include murder, attempted murder, burglary, stealing and kidnapping.
The inmates include Onyebuchi Nkwo, Timothy Aluo, both from Imo State, Udo Onyinye from Oko, and Emmanuel Okonkwo from Nawfija, both from Anambra State.
Others include Nzubechukwu Umekwuobi, Chidiebere Okonkwo, Esomuchi Orjiakor, Echezona Okeke, Mmaduabuchi Udeh, Oluchukwu Anagboso and Chika Onuorah.
Addressing journalists after court proceedings that lasted for hours, Justice Anyachebelu explained that the exercise, an annual ritual for every Chief Judge, helps in decongesting custodial centres.
The Chief Judge also spoke on the circumstances under which the inmates were released.
“Some of the freed inmates have been forgiven by the nominal complainants. Some we find it difficult to continue the prosecution of the case, while some have been in detention for too long.
“So under such circumstances, the Chief Judge is entitled to exercise his discretion and discharge them and that was what we did in some of these cases,” he said.
Anyachebelu however advised those freed during the exercise to be of good conduct henceforth and be useful to the society.
In his words; “In discharging the inmates, even though they have not been found guilty as to be punished specifically but we caution them to be of good behaviour. Because if we find them here again under such similar circumstances, the law will take its course.”
Deputy Comptroller of Corrections at the facility, Eke Eke, said while in detention, the freed inmates were exposed to skills acquisition training that will enable them have better life.
He urged them not to return to criminality.
“Some of them have been trained and we believe that they will not go back to the life of crime again because of what we have imbued them with.
“What we will do is to monitor them to see how far the teachings impacted on them are heeded, to ensure that they do not go back to crime,” he said.
The overjoyed freed inmates who could not hold their excitement at the taste of freedom, vowed never to engage in any act that will bring them to the facility again.