Akwa Ibom State Chief Judge, Justice Ekaette Obot, has freed 23 inmates, including an 80-year-old man from Ikot Abasi, Eket, and Ikot Ekpene Correctional Centres on awaiting trial list.
Out of the 23 freed inmates, three were from Ikot Abasi Correctional Centre, nine from Eket Correctional Centre, and 11 from Ikot Ekpene Correctional Centre, who had been awaiting trial for between one and five years.
The Judge, before granting the inmates pardon, went through their case files and said their period of stay in the centers, without trial, was enough punishment for the minor offenses they were accused of and ordered that they be released unconditionally.
Obot also released some on compassionate grounds and others for lack of case files, among others.
One John Akpan in Ikot Abasi Correctional Centre was accused by his uncle of stealing a bunch of plantain from his father’s land (John’s father’s land), which, he claimed, his uncle forcefully hijacked from him after the death of his father (John’s father) and had been in custody for over 12 months.
He was pardoned by the chief judge.
The chief judge also pardoned an 80-year-old man Ime Udoh, Eket correctional center who could barely walk, and his son James Ime, who was charged with disobeying a court order.
Also, pardoned at Ikot Ekpene correctional center was one Mmeyene Edet, 33, whose biological father caused her to be committed to prison for disobedience and a wayward lifestyle.
After his release, Edet said he thought the wayward lifestyle and disobedience to his parents was the best way until he was remanded in the correctional center. He advised youths to be focused and listen to their parents.
Also released was a truck driver and a minister with Living Faith Church, Ubong Patrick Ntia, who was given a job to convey household equipment to Abuja with a part paid N170,000 out of N220,000 but his truck broke down on the way, hence he moved the items into another vehicle but the owner of the goods arrested him and asked him to return the N170,000, which he did but was still remanded in a correctional center since 2021.
The Chief Judge donated medications and toiletries, exercise books, and other items to inmates.