Abuja Chief Judge advocates bail for robbery suspects
by Premiun Times
The Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Ishaq Bello, on Thursday urged judges to grant bail to robbery suspects and also soften bail conditions when possible.
Mr. Bello stated this while freeing 24 inmates on health and age grounds from the Kuje Prisons.
Among the inmates discharged by the CJ on the grounds of age was Abubakar Bello, a retired police officer, who had been in detention since 1999 on a life sentence for culpable homicide.
Mr. Bello said there was a panel of judges set to look into some cases of the inmates in order to accelerate hearing of their cases.
“Where bail is granted and could not be perfected then we look at the terms if they are that harsh and not attainable then we direct a review,’’ he said.
The Chief Judge further urged the prison officials to enable inmates awaiting trial contact their relations when the need arises.
Mr. Bello ordered the prison officials to make available the authentic medical records of inmates to accelerate onward delivery of justice.
He equally urged the Legal Aid Council and other Non-Governmental Organisations represented to pay the fine of some of the inmates who could not afford to pay their fine.
The chief justice appealed to the Legal Aid Council to give legal representation to inmates who cannot afford a lawyer.
He said the two non-Nigerian citizens that were discharged, hailed from Chad and Niger Republic, and would need to be assisted by the Nigeria Immigration Service to get to their respective embassies.
“We could not release them like that because one is mentally retarded and the other is critically ill,’’ Mr. Bello said.
Earlier, Innocent Onoja, the Deputy Controller, Kuje Prisons, said there were 914 inmates and 724 awaiting trial inmates at the prison.
He said there were inmates awaiting trials for 12 to 13 years in the prison and urged the chief justice to grant the expectations of the inmates and to consider inmates that are critically ill and were above 60 years.