By Agbaragu Timothy.

The Chief Judge of Delta State, Honourable Justice Tessy Diai has released five defendants and granted bail to two at the Agbor Custodial Centre yesterday amid shout of Hallelujah! Hallelujah!! Hallelujah!!! by the fortunate ones.

Justice Tessy Diai made the order in Agbor in continuation of her jail delivery visit to custodial centres of the Nigerian Correctional Service in the first quarter of 2022 in the State, after releasing nine inmates last week at the Warri and Sapele centres in line with the Criminal Justice Release from Custody (Special Provision) Act.

The defendants, Àbubakar Mohammed (19), Enumah Onyeka (25), Chukwuedozi Frank (24), Ekeli Ogochukwu (28), Adam Lucky Esaka (41), Otube Edet Godstime (28) and Marvel Omolu (20) were admitted into prison custody between 2017 and 2019 on charges ranging from kidnapping, rape, murder, unlawful carnal knowledge to armed robbery.

The Chief Judge set them free on grounds of legal opinion of Director of Public Prosecution, lack of diligent prosecution, no witnesses to testify and health condition.

Justice Diai who observed that some of the cases which were capital offences suffered series of adjournments in the Agbor zone because the defendants have no legal representation, called on the Nigerian Bar Association and Legal Aid to come to the rescue by taking up probono cases and as well submit list of lawyers who are interested handling such matters free of charge, to the courts.

Narrating the circumstances that landed him in Agbor prison, Abubakar Mohammed (a cattle rearer) said that men of vigilante came from no where, raided the area and was arrested among others and only to be slammed with trumped up allegation of kidnapping. 

Also, Chukwuedozi Frank (AKA Spider) who admitted to belonging to secrete society claimed innocence of the other charges preferred against him. He said that he has denounced membership of cult since he was brought to the Agbor prison.

On the challenges faced by officers of custodial centres in the state, the Chief Judge said: "I am also aware that there are constraints in trying these criminal cases because of vehicles. The Delta State Government has been trying her best to assist. 

"A situation where defendants are brought to court once or twice a week does not augur well for the quick dispensation of Justice. So I will take your plea before the Governor, and I am sure he will be favourably disposed to that."

A total of 266 warrants was reviewed by the Chief Judge out of which, five were discharged while two granted bail.

The Chief Judge will round off the first quarter of jail delivery visit at Ogwashi-Uku Custodial Centre on Thursday, January 27th and Friday, January 28th, 2022.

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