The chief judge of Anambra State, Justice Peter Umeadi, early this week freed 13 awaiting trial inmates in Onitsha Prison during a visit to the facility.
One of the inmates, Chukwujekwu Ifejika, 31, was discharged by Justice Umeadi based on the fact that the police did not file any case against him for the crime he was being accused.
He said, “If the accused was convicted for the crime he was accused of, he would have served seven years in prison and he has already spent seven years here. So, he should be discharged.”
Speaking with journalists after his release, Ifejika said although he was happy to regain his freedom he remained saddened by his parents’ death while he was incarcerated.
“I am going back home to meet relations to tell them my story. My incarceration opened doors for me to learn a lot of skills like painting, carpentry and tailoring. I am going home with this knowledge. I was among the prisoners that painted some parts of the prison,” he said.
He also condemned prison officers’ “lackadaisical attitude” with regard to ensuring that inmates kept their court appointments, lamenting that they often claim there is no vehicle or fuel to convey prisoners to court.
“Such experience is painful because once you miss a court date, it would take a long time to get another opportunity,” Ifejika added.