The Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Chibuzor Amadi, has extended clemency to 53 inmates facing various charges at the Port Harcourt Maximum Correctional Centre.
This compassionate gesture marks the commencement of the 2023/2024 legal year in the state, aimed at reducing the strain on the facility.
Justice Amadi’s decision aligns with the legal provisions outlined in section 34 Sub-section 1 of the Criminal Justice Law of Rivers State and the special provision act of the Laws of the Federation, which empowers the Chief Judge to evaluate the correctional center’s inmate population, their length of incarceration, and identify those deserving of a pardon.
Furthermore, Justice Amadi used this occasion to call for enhanced diligence in police investigations, emphasizing the importance of appropriate charges.
He stated, “Some individuals are charged with severe offenses when their actions warrant lesser charges. In some instances, the recovery of stolen property leads to cases being dropped.”
Addressing the released inmates, Justice Amadi urged them to embrace a path of lawful conduct, saying, “I am here to help you become better citizens. Your lives matter, and I implore you to forsake wrongdoing and cult activities.
As you return to your communities, let your transformation be evident. Seek honest work, such as farming, fishing, or acquiring vocational skills.”
He continued, “Empower yourself; if you work hard, people will support you. Change, for opportunities may not knock twice, and failure to seize them may alter your destiny.”
The Comptroller of the State Correctional Service, Felix Lawrence, praised the administration’s efforts in effectively reducing congestion at the Port-Harcourt Maximum Correctional Centre.
Upon assuming office in June, he encountered an inmate population exceeding 4,000, which has now been reduced by a thousand.
The pardoned inmates had endured incarceration for periods ranging from five to nine years and were among those awaiting trial without charges filed against them by the Department of Public Prosecution in the High Court.
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