By Osahon Osahon
Freedom has finally come the way of a 24-year-old commercial bus driver, Lucky Elum, who was arrested and remanded at the Benin Custodial Centre of the Nigerian Correctional Service for allegedly overtaking a policeman.
The Chief Judge of Edo State, Hon. Justice Esther Edigin ordered the unconditional release Elum when he visited the correctional centre on Tuesday.
Edigin, who visited the Custodial Centre as part of activities to decongest Correctional Centres in the State, condemned the incarceration of the inmate.
It was gathered that Elum who was among five inmates of the facility granted unconditional release, was charged for overtaking a one-star mobile police officer, along Sapele road, Benin.
It was, however, not stated when the alleged offence was committed.
“I don’t know or understand when overtaking has become an offense. The defendant is hereby released unconditionally and his vehicle released to him. The O/C legal present here shall supervise the release of his vehicle within the next 24 hours,” Justice Edigin said.
Other inmates released unconditionally were ThankGod Eneji, Samson Mbuko, Joshua Oziegbe Ebo and Emmanuel Idahosa.
They are charged for dangerous driving, with no cases against them, unlawful possession of a tiger generator, breach of peace and unlawful possession of firearm.
Justice Edigin noted that their release is part of measures taken by all stakeholders, especially in the Administration of Criminal Justice System, to ensure speedy decongestion of correctional centres, in view to the ravaging global COVID-19 pandemic.
She noted that the categories of inmates to consider for release are those awaiting trial, persons who have spent six years and above in custody or who have no cases against them.
Others are aged and/or terminally ill inmates, inmates with very serious health issues, low risk offenders, inmates convicted for minor offences with or without option of fines and inmates who have less than three years left to serve, having served a substantial term of their jail terms for offences that attract five years and above.
It would be recalled that the Edo Chief Judge also freed 11 prisoners on Monday from the Oko Medium Security Correctional Centre, in Benin.