Kogi - Nineteen awaiting trial inmates remanded in the six Federal Prison formations in Kogi have regained their freedom folllowing the intervention of the state Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah.
Ajanah, who spoke on Wednesday in Idah at the end of his two-week prison decongestion tour, also granted conditional bail to 12 inmates.
The chief judge told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the unconditional release of the inmates was not a grant of amnesty or pardon.
He said that some of the inmates were unjustly and unconstitutionally incarcerated for allegedly belonging to faceless gangs of thieves without concrete charges.
``The allegations were not in conformity with the provisions of the law.''
Ajanah reviewed warrants of 267 accused persons awaiting trial in the six prison formations.
A correspondent of NAN on the chief judge’s entourage, reports that in Koton-Karfe Prison, the warrants of 106 awaiting trial inmates' were reviewed with 10 of them unconditionally released while one was granted bail.
At the 200-capacity Medium Security Prison in Kabba, Ajanah granted bail to two out of 36 awaiting trial inmates and recommended psychiatric evaluation for two whose mental condition had deteriorated while in detention.
Ajanah said that most of the cases reviewed in Kabba prisons were ``very serious offences like culpable homicide and armed robbery’’.
``That is why we could not release any of them because much as we owe the accused persons a duty to ensure that they have a fair trial, we also owe the community a duty to ensure that they are safe from any criminal activities."
At Dekina Prison, he reviewed seven cases of awaiting trial inmates and granted bail to one, saying that their cases were very serious offence.
Ajanah granted bail to one and released six out of the 27 awaiting trial inmates in Ankpa Prison where he hinted that his tour was to ``ensure that nobody is in detention that is not supposed to be there."
At the 112-year-old Idah Prison which he described as the neatest in the state, Ajanah rounded-off his tour with a review of 23 warrants of awaiting trial inmates out of which he granted bail to one.
Ajanah also addressed judicial officers and other stakeholders in the administration of criminal justice in the state, urging them to ensure that cases were heard promptly.
The chief judge urged them to ensure that accused persons were not unnecessarily detained ``even for a day’’.
``No criminal case at any given time especially the cases of those in detention should be adjourned for more than two weeks.’’
Officers in charge of the prisons used the occasion to appeal to the authorities to come to their aid in the areas of logistics, especially operational vehicles and dilapidating infrastructures in some cases.