By Agbaragu Timothy
There was Jubilation in the Warri Custodial Centre, popularly called Okere Prison, as Chief Judge of Delta State, Honorable Justice Tessy Diai released four inmates yesterday on the second day of jail delivery exercise.
The lucky inmates, Tejiri Akpoyibo (25) charged for attempted murder; Anigoro Uduefe, Stanley Akporode and Kupa Tuphe charged for unlawful secrete society stated that they were innocent.
Ordering their release, the Chief Judge stated that trying Tejiri Akpoyibo who appeared mentally unstable was counterproductive, disclosing that the three others were freed on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to the effect that the trio had no case to answer.
Narrating his ordeal, Anigoro Uduefe who could not contain his joy for breathing air of freedom for the first time in few months, said that he was a member of the Sapele vigilante group and was going to see his wife at Udu which was engulfed in crisis, when the anti-kidnap group at Udu saw him, arrested, and slammed him with unlawful society charge.
He said he was innocent and happy because today was his son’s first birthday even as he thanked God for unveiling the truth.
Justice Diai commended the performance of the DPP and her team, the Chief Registrar, judges and chairmen of branches of Nigerian Bar Association, Delta State present, noting, however, that most of the problem experienced was on the issue of non-production of inmates.
According to her, the shortcoming had resulted in an unexpectedly large number awaiting trial in the Warri Custodial Center.
The Chief Judge who reviewed 639 warrants expressed dismay over the irregularity of prison officers in producing inmates to courts in Ughelli axis, stressing that taking inmates once a week from a center of over 300, was unacceptable.
“I am really distressed about the number of people going to Ughelli, distressed not just because of the number, but I just learnt that inmates are taken to that place once a week.
“I am not happy, I am not impressed. Something must have to be done; so the number of times inmates are taken to those courts must increase, “she stated.
She advised the prison authority to put up a proposal in order to address the abnormality.