The Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Pricilla Emehelu has discharged and acquitted an accused person and granted bail to two juvenile inmates at the Enugu Custodial Centre.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that of the 12 cases attended to during jail delivery exercise as nine juvenile inmates’ cases were referred to the Chief Judge’s Court for review in January 2021.
In a speech, Emehelu urged the juvenile inmates to take opportunity provided by the correctional centres as well as the effort to review their cases to become responsible citizens. “I will want juvenile inmates to use the second chance given to them to transform their lives and contribute their positive quota to move society forward,’’ she said.
The Chief Judge thanked the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for its efforts to strengthen the law and process of the Child Protection System. She also thanked the commission for its drive to stop factors promoting juvenile exposure to crime and incarcerating them with adults.
She expressed the commitment of the stakeholders in the judicial system to reduce overcrowding in custodial centres with an assurance that jail delivery involving all ages would continue to be a routine for her office. Deputy Director of Investigation with NHRC, Mr. Richmond Iheme said that the commission was gratified that the process of ensuring that juvenile inmates were not kept in adult custodial centres had started in Enugu.
He said: “It is a gradual process to get all the juvenile inmates released or granted bail or kept in a remand home for proper care and reformation. “The good thing is that the process has started and we are happy with the outcome of today’s juvenile jail delivery. “It is clear that based on the Child Rights Act, which had been domesticated in most states, children are not supposed to be in custodial centres with adult offenders.
“They should be treated within the stipulations in the child law.’’ Earlier, the Controller of Corrections in the state, Mr. Joseph Emelue, said the centres were not taking-in juvenile offenders.
According to him, the mistake of taking-in juvenile offenders comes from the police that at times give wrong age declaration of a suspect. Emelue said he was satisfied with the outcome of the jail delivery.
“I must thank the chief judge, other judges and the NHRC for coming to observe this exercise today. “I will advise the released inmate and two others granted bail to keep away from crime and anything that will bring them back here for any reason,’’ he said.