Imo State 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.
The release was sequel to a letter written to the Comptroller of Prisons in Owerri, Imo State, by the State government, dated April 29, 2020.
The Governor, in the letter said those granted amnesty are inmates who have spent over 75 percent of their period of convictions, placing more emphasis on inmates who are sick or whose offences are minor.
He said those with capital offenses such as robbery, kidnapping among others, are not considered.
The Governor 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, however, expressed dismay on the level of injustice meted out to some Imo citizens, tracing the anomaly to some people’s inordinate ambition to incarcerate others by conniving with the law enforcement agents.
According to him, such attitude was responsible for prolonged dispensation of justice, a situation he said has led to over 2,000 prisoners awaiting trials, while 600 are convicted of one crime or the other.
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.