A Non-Governmental Organisation under the aegis of Patriotic Citizen of Nigeria (PACON) has brought succour to six inmates as it facilitated their release from detention at the maximum Okaka Prison yard in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa capital.
The Human Right and Advocacy Group (PACON) is also involved in charitable donation when it paid visit to the prison in August 2017, in which it donated food items, toiletries and foot wears the inmates, while many have remain in detention for more than two years without trial.
The Group, however, promised to take up the legal processes of bailing some of the inmates with minor offences, as it fulfilled the promise on Friday with release of no fewer than six inmates from detention.
During the visit, officials of PACON, Mr Aluzu Ebikebuna and Nehemiah Ayogoi, the Convener and the Head of its legal team, had expressed concern over the congestion at the Okaka prison.
The prison was officially commissioned and opened in April 2013 by former Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, with a capacity to house not more than 300 inmates, but the facility has been stretched to accommodate over 580 inmates.
However, 550 persons are awaiting trial inmates while only 38 persons had been convicted.
Speaking on the initiative, Aluzu expressed delight that his organization was able to keep to its promise, imploring those whose relatives had already been granted bail to come forward.
He gave the names of those released as Austin Begry, Godstime Ebenezer, Omor Atariate, Benjamin Owen, Topman Abacha and Ebimie Emmanuel.
Aluzu, who stressed that bail is free, also called for a better working relationship with judiciary staff, alleging of deliberate efforts by some court staff to frustrate the release of some inmates.
He said, “We are happy to be here today; we are taking three inmates out. This brings the total number of inmates released through us to six. Four were taken on bail while two have been discharged and acquitted.
“Upon our request, we were given a list of inmates charged with simple offences at different magistrate’s courts by the prison authorities.
We went further to ascertain their bail status, after which we perfected same for deserving inmates and proceeded to settle some matters out of court.
“It was difficult getting sureties for them, so we used professional sureties. We would have released more than these but some court staff are deliberating frustrating our efforts because we refused to compensate them for carrying out their lawful duty.”
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