YULETIDE:Ebonyi First Lady Facilitates Release of 53 Inmates

By Celestine Okeh, Abakaliki

The wife of Ebonyi state Governor, Chief Mrs Mary-Maudline Uzoamaka Ogbonna Nwifuru on Wednesday, celebrated Christmas with the downtrodden in the society. The celebration saw fifty three (5) inmates of Nigeria correctional service, Abakaliki custodial center gaining their freedom, after all the necessary legal actions were perfected by the wife of the state Governor.

According to the First Lady, she cleared all the debts of the inmates in line with her pet project, BERWO.

The inmates, including two women, also received cash gifts to sustain them as they reunited with their people.
She charged the inmates to turn a new leaf and shun anything that would make them return to prison.

“My modest project, Better Health for Rural Women, Children, and Internally Displaced Persons (BERWO), provides succour for the less privileged, giving them assured hope through our numerous programs.

“On October 13, 2023, I visited this correction centre. In the course of my intervention with the authorities of the correctional centre and the inmates, my attention was drawn to the fact that some inmates were already convicted but given the option to pay a fine and be released from custody. Unfortunately, those inmates could not pay the said fines and were consequently held in custody.

“My attention was also drawn to another category of inmates. These were inmates granted bail with conditions but are yet to and unable to perfect their bail condition.

“Moved by the condition of these inmates and the sense of duty as the mother of this state and worsened by overcrowding of this centre, I brought it to the knowledge of my husband, the father of the state, for his esteemed intervention. He didn’t hesitate one date in giving his fatherly support by undertaking to pay the court fines and requirements of the perfection of the bail and condition to secure the release of the inmates from the custodial centre,” she stated.

Earlier in his speech, the state attorney general and commissioner for justice, Dr. Ben Odoh, described the release of the inmates by Mrs. Nwifuru as timely.

According to him, the Correction Centre is currently carrying more than its capacity and charged everyone to put all hands on deck to change the dilapidated state of the criminal justice system in the State.

“Our situation in the criminal justice system is in a dilapidated state and is gasping for help. Mummy has had an action that is challenging all of us to make sure that we put all our hands on deck to see how we can remedy the worsening state of our criminal justice system in Ebonyi and by extension Nigeria,” he stated.

Speaking to journalist shortly after regaining freedom, Mr Abel Nkwuda thanked the Governor’s wife for the gesture. According to him, he has spent over two years in detention without trials stressing that their release in this Christmas season has given them hope to start a new life.

He then pleaded with the Gov’s Wife to also assist in the release of other inmates who have a similar case with them.

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