An 18-year-old inmate at the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Ogwashi-Uku in Delta State, Gabriel Uwaya, on Thursday, made a passionate plea to the Federal Government and non-governmental organisations to send instructors to the facility to equip inmates with requisite skills that would make them useful after they eventually regain freedom.
Uwaya, currently standing trial at the High Court 4, Asaba, for murder, implored the Chief Judge of Delta State, Hon. Justice Tessy Diai, who is currently touring prison facilities across the state, to use her good office to attract government attention to the issue.
The teenage inmate noted that “though the Custodial Centre has three workshop buildings for carpentry, tailoring and barbing saloon, none of them has qualified instructors or equipment to acquire vocational skills”.
He however stated that the assistant controller of correction in charge of the Centre, Mr John Unamba, “has been very kind, generous and compassionate to inmates.”
The Chief Judge who released one inmate out of 448 warrants reviewed at the Ogwashi-Uku Correctional Centre commended Justice Onome Marshal-Umukoro in charge of High Court 5 Asaba, and the prosecutors for the rapid progress of criminal cases in the court.
But the Chief Judge acknowledged the difficulty in bringing witnesses to testify in court, saying, “I know the difficulty, I know the efforts the prosecutors put in to get these people to come to court. It is not easy. So I thank all of you for your zeal and hard work”.
While discharging Chinonso Aduba who was standing trial for conspiracy and murder, the Chief Judge stated that “the defendant has no case to answer based on the Director of Public Prosecutions’ legal opinion”.
Speaking with journalists shortly after, Aduba, 27, who claimed to be innocent of the alleged crime, narrated that he was in his house at Akwuku-Igbo when a friend called him on the phone that there was work for them.
According to him, as they were going, they entered a camp but a woman warned them not to go further because something had happened in the area. But his stubborn friend asked him to discountenance the warning. As they proceeded further, Akwuku-Igbo vigilantes apprehended them and took them to the Akwuku-Igbo police station, from where they were taken to anti-kidnapping unit.
He said that he was innocent even as he thanked the DPP for their thorough investigation that exonerated him of the alleged crime, which led to his eventual discharge.
Earlier, the Assistant Controller of Ogwashi-Uku Custodial Centre, John Unamba, informed the Chief Judge that the working relationship between the staff of the High Court and that of the centre remained cordial.
He disclosed that the facility had 560 inmates as of Thursday, April 20, 2023, comprising 152 convicts, while 408 were awaiting trial.