By Sunday John
Justice Aisha Basir-Aliyu, Chief Judge of Nasarawa State has discharged 37 inmates awaiting trial across the five Federal Correctional Centres in the state.
Bashir-Aliyu discharged the inmates during a routine official visit to Lafia, Wamba, Nasarawa medium, Keffi Old and Keffi Modern Custodian Centres.
Speaking to newsmen at the end of the visit to the facilities, Justice Basir-Aliyu said the tour was a routine exercise to carry out her mandate in line with the law.
The CJ said the law empowers her to go round the custodian facilities from time to time to review cases of awaiting trial to ensure that justice was served.
She gave the breakdown of those discharged from various custodian facilities as; Lafia 25, Wamba five Nasarawa three and four from Keffi Modern Custodian.
“The exercise is aimed at seeing to the health and well-being of the inmates, discharge those wrongly incarcerated or who stayed more than the punishment they are being charged for.
“The custodian facilities are not meant to punish the inmates, but to reform them and make them better persons afterward,” she added.
Aisha Basir-Aliyu also said that the judiciary under her, would continue to dispense cases in good time in order to decongest the custodian centres.
She urged lower court Judges to desist from sending accused persons to correctional centres unnecessarily so that the facilities would not be congested.
“Always try settlement except if it is unavoidable before you send the accused to custodian centres,” she added.
The CJ said most of the custodian centres were already overstretched by more than two times their capacities.
She warned the discharged inmates to stay away from crimes or if caught again, they would face maximum punishment.
The Chief Judge also warned judiciary staff against indulging in corrupt practices, adding that anyone caught would be sanctioned accordingly.
Also speaking, Mallam Yunusa Ibrahim-Ada, Controller of Corrections in Nasarawa State commended the CJ and her team for the visit.
“As at today, the total number of inmates in the various facilities in the state is 1, 877, with 1, 383 awaiting trial inmates, 483 convicts and 11 sentenced to death.”
The Controller appealed to the CJ to ensure that Judges in the state deployed the instrument of alternative imprisonment, especially for persons accused of minor offences to decongest the facilities.
He said the original capacity of the facilities had been breached as such, they were facing a lot of logistical challenges.
“We are constrained by inadequacy of operational vehicles to convey our ever increasing inmates to courts spread across the 13 Local Government Areas of the state,” he said.
Ibrahim-Ada used the opportunity to appeal to the state Governor, Abdullahi Sule to assist them with vehicles for effective service delivery.
He promised to remain committed to protecting the society through provision of safe and humane custody for all inmates. (NAN)