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Edo chief judge frees man who spent 13 years in jail awaiting trial


By Peterson Ibi/Benin

The Edo State Chief Judge, Justice Esohe Ikpomwen has ordered the release of inmate of Oko Medium Correctional Center, in Benin, Edo State, Victor Ogunsuyi, who had spent more than 13 years awaiting trial.

Ikpomwen gave the order for the release on Wednesday during her on-going Correctional Service decongestion visit. She also ordered the release of Joel Ogbeide, who had spent over six years in custody awaiting trial.

They were among four inmates set free by the outgoing Chief Judge at the Okonkwo Centre.

Others include Moses Okoro, whose case file was missing and had been in custody for over seven years.

Okoro was locked behind bar over his alleged involvement in the death of Olaitan Oyerinde, the then Principal Private Secretary to former Governor Adams Oshiomhole.

Following the inability of the State of Public Prosecution (DPP), and the police to explain the mutilated figures and why he had multiple warrants, Ikpomwen ordered his release, noting that “there is no justifiable cause to hold him in custody.”

On his part, Joseph Effiong, was released, following a review of a letter written by the DPP about a year ago, “that there is no prima facie established against him.”

A total of 1,032 cases would be reviewed during the visit to various Correctional facilities across the State by the outgoing Chief Judge.

Earlier, the Deputy Controller of Corrections in charge of the medium custodial centre, Mr. Godwin Evboeruan, explained reasons for the change of name of the Service, “as inmates will now see the centre as a correctional one and not only set up to punish them.”

He called for the establishment of court cells for securing inmates before entry into courts, to avoid suffocation and dehydration of inmates inside vehicles.

Evboeruan also called for an early notice to the Correctional Service, if courts would not seat, to avoid bringing inmates to court when closed or sittings were adjourned.