The Imo State Government has freed 36 prisoners amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
State’s executive governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, in line with the presidential directives on the decongestion of Correctional Centres in the country, has ordered for the release of over 36 prisoners, using his Prerogative of Mercy.
In a ceremony marking the formal release of the inmates, the Imo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, who is also Chairman, Imo State Committee on Prerogative of Mercy, Barr. C.O.C. Akaolisa, who represented the governor, said the idea behind the magnanimity is to decongest the Correctional Centres all over the Federation and Imo State in particular.
The Governor ordered for the release of prisoners who have spent over 75 percent of their period of convictions, placing more emphasis on inmates who are sick or whose offences are minor
Meanwhile, he noted that prisoners with capital offenses such as robbery, kidnapping among others, are not considered.
Akaolisa further disclosed that each of the prisoners were given five thousand naira (5,000) for their transport fare and to enable them purchase critical coronavirus kits.
He concluded that sooner than later, the committee on the Prerogative of Mercy led by the Acting Chief Judge of the State will pay a visit to the Correctional Centres to effect more releases of those awaiting trials.
Meanwhile, Imo people have been advised to shun stigmatization of the released inmates but reintegrate them into the society.
Chris Okey Chukwuemeka, the Comptroller of Owerri Correctional Centre, said that the amnesty will go a long way in decongesting the centre which, according to him, was meant to contain 1000 inmates.
He further charged the judiciary on immediate dispensation of justice on inmates to sustain the Governor’s idea to decongest the prisons.
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