The Bauchi state Chief Judge, Justice Rabi Umar has set free 27 suspects awaiting trial in Bauchi Custodial Centre and other correctional service centres across the state.
Governor Bala Mohammed in his bid to decongest prisons in the state, had set up a committee headed by the chief justice to undertake routine quarterly visits to correctional service centres and review cases of awaiting trial inmates who have spent three years and above year in incarceration without trial.
The committee comprising of representatives of the state custodial centre, Directorate of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), among others, the committee had at its first outing, freed 29 awaiting trial inmates from across the correctional centres in the state.
Justice Umar while releasing 21 out of the 27 awaiting trial Cinmates, most of whom have spent five to six years without trial at the Bauchi Custodial Centre on Wednesday, the chief judge urged them to be of good conduct and exhibit exemplary behaviours having regained their freedom.
The chief judge asked the freed inmates to seek forgiveness from their respective family members for committing the acts that warranted their being remanded in the correctional centres and advised the younger inmates among those released to acquire an education or skill with a view to becoming useful members of society.
“See the regaining of your freedom as an act of God, not because of any influence or your position in the society. You should also not brag about the freedom you regained as doing so will be an act of disobedience or ungratefulness to God,” she warned.
The chief judge said that the exercise is a continuous one as the law has given her the powers to review cases of people who are unnecessarily remanded without trial.
Speaking on behalf of the freed inmates, Inuwa Wanzam thanked God and the committee for the gesture as according to him, their release has marked the end of their stay in the walls of the correctional centres.
Other six awaiting trial inmates released include four in Azare and one each in Misau and Jama’are correctional centres, thus putting the number of inmates who regained the freedom at27.
In Katagum Emirate where there are two correctional centres, located at Zaki and Azare respectively, the committee took-off time to visit the Katagum palace where the Emir, Umar Farouk Umar assured of his council’s support and cooperation to enable the committee succeed in its assignment.
The emir described the judiciary as the last hope of the common man and the institution in which every law -abiding citizen must have confidence.
He however, expressed dissatisfaction about the detention orders issued by some judges over flimsy issues and canvassed for a synergy between the judiciary and the police, saying people should be given their rights as the prayers of such detainees are easily accepted by God.
“Some people are being detained unnecessarily over common issues,” the emir said, expressing fears that if people continue to lose confidence in the judiciary, there is every possibility that people will start taking laws into their hands.