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Rivers CJ Frees 24 Inmates



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The Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Chibuzor-Amadi, on Friday, freed 24 inmates from the Port Harcourt Maximum Custodial Centre.

Justice Chibuzor-Amadi said the goal delivery exercise underscores the dedication of the court that individuals have the right to be integrated into society and become law-abiding citizens.

He stated this during a goal delivery at the correctional centre on Friday, saying he is empowered by law to conduct the exercise on inmates as part of efforts to decongest correctional facilities in the state.

He, however, blamed a lack of proper process in trying the inmates and activities of the police in the prolonged stay of the inmates at the correctional centre and the consequent overcrowding.

The CJ stated that correctional centres should neither be warehouses for the forgotten nor breeding ground for hardened criminals.

“Rather, they should be institutions for transformation where individuals can reflect on their actions, learn from their mistakes, and receive the necessary tools and support for their rehabilitation,” he explained.

Justice Chibuzor-Amadi added, “We are here in compliance with the Criminal Justice Release from Custody Special Provision Act Cap 40 Laws of Federation of Nigeria, 2024 and Section 34 Sub 1 of the Rivers State Administration and Criminal Justice Law No 7 of 2015 to conduct this goal delivery at this Port Harcourt Correctional Centre.

“Today, we have the chance to offer compassion, restore the dignity, and extend a hand of hope to those who have erred in the past but deserve to have a change for the future.”

He called on stakeholders, including security agencies, to ensure collaboration in justice delivering, saying the goal delivery exercise cannot take away the principles of the nation’s justice system which includes fairness, integrity and equality before the law.

He added, “Every individual appearing before us today deserves to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of the kind of offence he is alleged to have committed.

“However, let us not forget that there are those who are victims of the crime those we are about to release have committed. It is our duty to ensure that justice is served for those victims also. Providing them with the closure and healing they deserve.

“Restorating justice programme can play a crucial role in this process by encouraging dialogue and reconciliation between victims and offenders. Promoting understanding and facilitating healing for all the parties involved.”

While noting that the pardon should not be misunderstood that people should not be punished for their actions, he advised the released inmates to become a better people in the society as they reunite with their families and society.

In his goodwill message, the state Comptroller of Nigerian Correctional Centre, Felix Lawrence, commended the state judiciary for its continuous effort aimed at ensuring justice and decongestion of the facilities.

Twenty-four inmates who have been in correctional centre between seven and 15 years were granted pardon by the Chief Judge in the presence of representatives of state Ministry of Justice, Nigeria Bar Association, the International Federation of Female Lawyers and human rights groups.

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