There was a mild drama at the Aguata prisons in Anambra State when a defendant, Tobias Mbaekwe who was granted bail on health condition, declined to leave the prison environment despite family’s readiness to meets the bail conditions.
Mbaekwe, who hailed from Ozubulu in Ekwusigo local government area of the state, was among the three juveniles who were incarcerated at medium security prisons, Aguata and ten others freed by the State Chief Judge, Justice Peter Umeadi on health ground and delay in prosecution.
The defendant collapsed on the floor shortly after the ruling that he would be granted bail, begging the Chief Judge to allow him stay back in the prison, where he said his life will be more secured.
He informed the court that his relatives, numbering thirty one, have ganged up to kill him.
“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 out.
Justice Umeadi however directed the Aguata Prisons Welfare Officer to take the defendant to the DPP of Ozubulu Police station who would in turn accompany him home.
He also directed that the defendant be visited every three months, adding that he could be re-arraigned by the DPO anytime they wanted to prosecute him.
The Chief Judge, during his visit to the prison for jail delivery service, also discharged a 34-year-old Obinna Nwankwo Udemgba who was incarcerated since 2013 but has not been prosecuted by the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP).
Ruling on his case, Justice Umeadi discharged the defendant on the ground of unnecessary delay by DPP to commence trial on the matter brought against the defendant as well as the attitude of the defendant’s relatives who abandoned him in the prison.
Other defendants granted bails during the prison decongestion visit were Japhet Onwuchekwe, Toochukwu Onyebuchi, Sunday Ulebe (Ebonyi), Amandi Dim, Chinonso Onyejeckwe and others.
Justice Umeadi said the exercise was targeted at bringing the court closer to the inmates, describing it as part of the corporate social responsibility of the third arm of the government.
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.
On his part, the Assistant Controller of Aguata prisons, Mr. Ubaenyi Patrick described the visit as relief to the prison authorities and family of the inmates, revealing that the 80 capacity prison facility houses 191 inmates, out of which, 161 were awaiting trial.