Ten inmates regained their freedom as the Chief Judge of Delta State, Honourable Justice Tessy Diai ended a two-day jail delivery tour to the Warri Custodial Centre, popularly known as "Okere prison".

Justice Diai ordered the release of some of the inmates following the legal advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) disclosing that the defendants have no case to answer. She also released two who were unlawfully held in custody having previously been discharged by courts of competent jurisdiction.

Among those released were Ifeacho Blessing (42), Michael Diata, Stanley Lucky (37), Tega Okoloba (21), and Omovua Moses (28). Others were Godspower Charity (20), Noah Tamarauketemene (23), Tuwo Two Nadua (27), Godwin Omotefe (44), and Boloemi Inuisi (23).

Narrating the circumstances that led to their incarceration at Warri prison, Ifeacho Blessing and Michael Diata said that someone asked them to contract a driver for him for an assignment which they did. But after some time the person came to them complaining that he could not find the driver, demanding them to produce the driver. When they told him that they do not know the whereabouts of the driver, the police arrested and slammed both of them with allegations of conspiracy and murder. 

In her opening remarks, Justice Diai who reviewed 609 lists of awaiting trial inmates noted that when few or no inmates were released it means that the courts were doing well.

"You know yesterday when I was talking I said, well if we do not release people in prison it means we are doing well. Doing well in the sense that everybody who is here, is here lawfully, and when that has been ascertained, it is the court in which the case is pending that will now take over jurisdiction in respect of such matters," she explained.

On the purpose of the jail delivery exercise, Justice Diai reiterated, "Last year when I was here, I made some remarks of the purpose of the visit, and it has not changed. It is to review the cases of those awaiting trial and to ensure that they are here legitimately. And we are also to see whether there are those persons who have stayed more than the period if they should have been convicted."

The Chief Judge who arrived at the Warri Custodial Centre (popularly called Okere prison) at 10 a.m each day to commence the second quarterly visit in the year, commended the prison authority for their adequate preparation, DPP and her team, the Chief Registrar, Nigerian Bar Association, Legal Aid Council and Police for their cooperation and efficiency.

Earlier, the Deputy Controller of Corrections of Warri Custodial Centre, Edo Joseph Lucky disclosed that inmates at the Centre were 933 comprising 373 convicts, 217 on death roll, and 560 awaiting trial.

Expressing hope that the Chief Judge would use the auspicious visit to decongest the centre by releasing deserving inmates, Mr. Edo appealed to her to use her good offices to bring to the attention of the state government the need to build cells in courts where large inmates were produced, saying that it would help to reduce the number of inmates in court while judges were sitting, as some would be locked up in the cell while other cases were being treated. 

The freed inmates who maintained their innocence of the charges preferred against them thanked the Chief Judge for her mercy and for making them regain their freedom.

They promised to be of good conduct and be useful to the society.

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