Jailed since 2012, inmate begs Chief Judge not to free him

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A mild drama played out at the Ekwulobia prisons on Friday when an inmate, Tobias Mbaekwe, granted amnesty by Chief Judge of Anambra State, Justice Peter Umeadi, on health grounds, fell on the floor begging not to be released from the prison where he has been since 2012.

Mbaekwe, who was among 13 others freed in the exercise, pleaded with the Chief Judge of Anambra state after the ruling, to allow him stay back in the prison, where he said his life was better secured.

In an exercise aimed at bringing the court closer to the inmates, the inmate, who hails from Ozubulu in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of the state, informed the court that his relatives would gang up and kill him if freed.

“They said they will kill me if I come back home. They grabbed my father’s land after killing him in 1980. They latter kidnapped me and threatened to kill me and that is why they abandoned me here since 2012,” he cried.

The Chief Judge, however, directed Ekwulobia Prisons Welfare Officer to take the defendant to the Divisional Police Officer of Ozubulu Police Station to take Mbaekwe home, adding that the defendant should be visited every three months to ascertain his situation.

He stated that the culprit could be re-arraigned anytime the police would want to prosecute him.

He also discharged a 34-year-old Obinna Nwankwo Udemgba, who was detained since 2013 without prosecution. The inmate was freed on the basis of unnecessary delay by the Department of Public Prosecution to commence trial on the matter brought against the him as well as the attitude of the defendant’s relatives who abandoned him in the prison.

Others freed on bail were Japhet Onwuchekwe, Tochukwu Onyebuchi, Sunday Ulebe (Ebonyi), Amandi Dim, Chinonso Onyejeckwe.

Justice Umeadi explained that the session is part of the corporate social responsibility of the judiciary.

He commended the security agencies, DPP, Prison officers, Red Cross Society, the judiciary and others for their efforts in ensuring that the exercise was a success.

In his remarks, the Assistant Controller of Ekwulobia Prisons, Mr. Ubaenyi Patrick, described the visit as relief to the prison authorities and family of the inmates.

He disclosed that the 80-capacity prison facility housed 191 inmates, out of which, 161 were awaiting trial.

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