CJ releases 136 inmates from correctional centres
The Abia State Government yesterday gave the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) a seven-day notice within which to remove what it described as “offensive and provocative notices” it placed on some of its property and estates.
It also charged the anti-corruption agency to tender an unreserved apology for its action, which it said was embarrassing or be ready to face litigation if it failed to do so.
Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Uche Ihediwa, who stated this in Umuahia, said the EFCC, in utter disregard for the regulatory, enforcement and investigative provisions of the law establishing it, sealed the assets at various locations in Umuahia under the guise of being investigated.
He listed the property as the Abia Mall, Housing Estate at Adelabu Street, former Township Main Market at Ogwumabiri, Millennium Luxury Apartments, Abia Hotels and Linto Estate Old Timber in Umuahia.
Ihediwa, who was former Commissioner for Lands and Housing wondered why the EFCC was acting in that manner, saying it had investigated the ownership of most of the property in 2016.
He insisted that the property and assets belonged to the state government under a PPP arrangement, which meant that the reversionary interest in them still resided in the state government.
Reacting to the development, a chieftain of the Labour Party (LP) in the state, Eke Onwukwe, said EFCC’s marking of some Abia property and assets was not done without a genuine reason.
He urged members of the public to await the commission’s reaction to the state government’s threat to sue EFCC if it failed to remove them after seven days.
Meanwhile, the state’s Chief Judge (CJ), Onuoha Ogwe, has released 136 inmates who were awaiting trial, of which 23 were on bail during his jail delivery sessions at Umuahia, Aba, Arochukwu and Okigwe correctional centres.
The details showed that 82 of the inmates were released at Umuahia, 28 in Aba, 18 at Arochukwu and nine in Okigwe.He said during the exercise that was conducted to decongest correctional centres that the released inmates were mostly those whose cases had lasted for so long without being brought to court, even as some of them had no case files or relevant information on them.
Ogwe admonished them to engage themselves legitimately and be useful to society by avoiding illegal acts, which led to their imprisonment. Expressing worry over the state of the centres, he stated that the courts were not responsible for their congestion saying, “Every morning, the judge goes to Court ready to hear cases, but it is either the lawyer is not ready or the prosecutor is not in court.”