Oyo State’s chief judge sets grandma, her grandson detained over fowl theft free

Oyo State’s chief judge sets grandma, her grandson detained over fowl theft free

By Chidinma Ewunonu-Aluko, Oyo.

 

A 65-year-old grandmother and her 15-year-old grandson jumped for joy on Wednesday, as the chief judge of Oyo State set them free from prison where they had been kept over alleged theft of two chickens.

 

The Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Munta Abimbola, released the duo of awaiting-trial grandmother and grandson from the Abolongo Correctional Centre Oyo, while exercising his prerogative of mercy.

 

Grandmother and grandson had been awaiting trial at the Abolongo Correctional Centre since December 2022.

 

The boy was alleged to have stolen the chickens and given them to the grandmother who also allegedly collected them for safekeeping.

 

Justice Abimbola noted that they deserved mercy because the boy was underage while the old woman was aged, sick and frail.

 

He admonished them never to return to stealing or receipt of stolen items.

 

The chief judge released 72 other awaiting-trial inmates of the centre also on Wednesday.

 

Abimbola explained that the exercise of the prerogative of mercy, followed recommendations of the Oyo State Monitoring Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, chaired by him.

 

He said that the committee considered cases and lists of inmates brought by the Correctional Centre, NGOs and the Oyo State chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association on prerogative of mercy.

 

He explained that age, health challenges and prolonged detention were the three major criteria that were considered in releasing the beneficiaries.

The chief judge noted that the exercise was also in tune with his power of release and prerogative of mercy to aid prison decongestion.

 

He remarked that the judiciary must ensure that prisons were decongested, while the rights of citizens in detention were enforced.

 

“The power to arrest, detain or prosecute has its source from the law; we fear no one and we shall exercise our power according to the law,’’ he said.

 

Abimbola urged judicial officers to be acquainted with the provisions of the Criminal Justice Law, while ensuring that no one trampled on their rights.

 

In his remarks, Justice Ladiran Akintola of Oyo State High Court said the judiciary in Oyo State worked in synergy with various NGOs to ensure that the released persons were reintegrated into the society.

 

“We had passionate considerations for deserving cases, including those who have stayed too long awaiting prosecution and those afflicted with serious illnesses.

 

“They needed to be considered because it is only when they are alive that they can stand trial,’’ he noted.

 

Some of the freed 74 inmates released are juveniles and others have various health challenges.

 

Some were charged with theft, house-breaking, and rape, among other offences.

 

Justice Abimbola had on Monday and Tuesday released 99 inmates from Agodi Correctional Centre, Ibadan.

 

The 74 awaiting-trial persons released from the Abolongo Correctional Centre raised the number of inmates released from the two centres to 173, in the three-day exercise that ended on Wednesday.

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