In the spirit of the 60th independence anniversary of Nigeria, four inmates awaiting trial, two at Bauchi and Ningi Custodial Centres respectively were on Wednesday set free by the state Chief Judge, Justice Rabi Talatu Umar during her visit to correctional centres across Bauchi State to look at cases of awaiting trial inmates (ATMs).
The inmates, Auwalu Ibrahim and Umar Safiyanu have each spent seven months behind bars at the Ningi Custodial Centre for some minor offence with Umar said to be a motorcycle mechanic who sold a motorcycle brought to him for repairs and used the proceeds for his personal gain while Auwalu was an Almajiri who in the course of almajiranci stole at one particular house three measures (mudus) of rice.
The Bauchi freed awaiting trial inmates are Magaji Iro and Adamu Sulaiman each of whom spent at least four months in custody awaiting trial by Chief Magistrate Courts in Bauchi and whose cases were reviewed with some disadvantages or shortcomings.
While setting the ATMs free, the visiting Chief Judge advised them to be of exemplary behaviours, and Auwalu who is an indigene of Birnin Kudu in Jigawa State for Qur’anic school in Ningi was directed to go back to his village and look for means of livelihood there.
She also noted that those freed from Bauchi custodial centre have, during their awaiting trial period, learnt a lot of trades on which they will defend on in the society.
Justice Rabi Umar explained that the periodic visits to custodial centres in the state were part of her responsibility as the Chief Judge to unravel those that are unnecessarily detained without genuine reasons.
“Those two cases at the Bauchi custodial centres are genuine cases, the ATMs are not supposed to be there in the first instance, we checked and discovered that their cases are genuine, thus why I released them”, she said.
Justice Rabi Umar who was also in Misau Custodial Centre where she was confronted by a Magistrate with a complaint of non-admittance of ATMs into the Custodial centre for fear of COVID-19 pandemic, but was told by authorities of the centre that an isolation complex was recently provided at the centre, awaiting directive for its usage from Correctional Service Authorities in Bauchi.
The Misau Custodial Centre Isolation complex has the capacity to contain 12 inmates with strict social distance adherence, and a directive for any at the isolation found to have tested positive be moved to Bauchi through the collaborative efforts of the centre and operatives of the Divisional Police Office to guarantee security.
Similarly, Azare Custodial Centre has no ATMs, where the visiting team that comprised among others, the State Controller of Correctional Services, Isa Sabo Kashuri and State NBA Chairman, Abubakar Abdulhamid were only shown 8 convicts whose cases are being reviewed by State Committee on Prerogative of Mercy while being conducted round the isolation centre provided there.
The Chief Judge in continuation of her visit to ATMs was Wednesday in Tafawa Balewa where the two ATMs to whom the team visited the centre were Tuesday said to have been taken to court, were either set free or granted bail by the court.
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