From Sylvia Udegbunam- Enugu
The Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Abuja, Hon. Justice Ishaq Bello has commended Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State for facilitating the adoption of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act in the state.
Hon. Justice Bello who spoke when he led members of the Presidential Committee on Prisons Reform and Decongestion to pay a courtesy call on Ugwuanyi at the Government House, Enugu, described the adoption of the criminal justice administration act in Enugu State as “revolutionary”.
The FCT Chief Judge told the governor that the committee was in Enugu in exercise of its “sole mandate of visiting Nigerian Prisons to release inmates who have option of fines associated to their various sentences and also to review cases of inmates that have stayed over five years awaiting trials before various courts”and added that “in a situation where they have overstayed the period of sentences they were convicted, we take instant decisions to let them go”.
The jurist, who advocated a uniform criminal justice regime act to be adopted by the respective component states “without affecting the very substance intendment of the act”, said Ugwuanyi deserves to be congratulated for the adoption of the act in Enugu State.
“Your Excellency, you deserve to be congratulated for that. We are very happy that you have made it possible; that you are among the states that have adopted the act.
Many others are following suit because it is in that act that you find the road that will expedite delivery, eliminate delays, among others”, he said.
Earlier, the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Hon. Justice Priscilla Emehelu, told Ugwuanyi that the delegation deemed it necessary to pay him a courtesy visit before embarking on the assignment because of his interest and commitment in ensuring that justice is done to people who are kept away in prisons unlawfully.
Responding, Ugwuanyi, who welcomed the FCT Chief Judge and other members of the committee to the Government House, Enugu, stated that his administration appreciates the efforts of the federal government in fast-tracking the decongestion of prisons in the country.
The governor disclosed that his administration has in many ways supported the rehabilitation of prison infrastructure in the state, to improve the environment and has assisted in the payment of fees to lawyers to represent inmates who could not afford legal representation, assuring the presidential committee of the state’s firm support to their noble assignment.