On Monday, March 16, 13 inmates of the Akwa Ibom State Correctional Service Centre were granted pardon by the Presidential Committee on Correctional Reforms and Decongestion.
The committee, led by its Chairman, Justice Ishaq Bello pardoned the inmates after a tour of the centre, saying that the release was based on the mandate given to the committee.
Justice Bello, a Chief Judge of the High Court, Federal Capital Territory, also stated that the pardon was based on the grounds of ill health of 2 of the pardoned inmates, while the other 11 were those convicted of minor offences with option of fines but were unable to pay.
“We have in our mandate to look at those who have overstayed the sentence year, the aged, those that have health challenges and those who committed minor offences and have options of fines but could not pay”, he said.
“The total inmates released are 13 from the Correctional Centre, out of this, 11 of them had their option of fine paid. Two were released on ground of ill health”.
He advised the released inmates to be of good conduct and refrain from crime to avoid being brought back to the correctional centre, adding that they should associate with people of good character to be better citizens for themselves and the country.
He also commended the state comptroller of the Centre, Mr. Alex Oditah for the clean environment maintained, stating that it was hygienic.
Earlier in his remarks, the State Comptroller of the Correctional service thanked the Committee for their efforts to decongest the Custodial centres in the State.
He noted that the Centres were being overstretched beyond their capacities. He cited Uyo Custodial Centre as an example, saying it has a capacity of 613 inmates, but now has over 1300 inmates.
Highpoint of the event was the donation of books by the committee to enhance reading culture of inmates.