FCT CJ moves to clear backlog of cases, releases eight prisoners
The Chief Judge (CJ) of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Justice Ishaq Bello, has resolved to ‘consult with brother judges’ so as to dispense cases speedily.
Bello said during a visit to Kuje Prisons, Abuja yesterday that in view of the high number of cases that have stayed long, he had resolved, after consultation with brother judges, to handle such cases within a defined period of time, maybe two weeks by each court.
“We will give time to the prosecution whether from the Ministry of Justice, whether from the police, to come forth with their witnesses so these cases are taken and disposed of so that we will clear the backlog of these long-aged cases,” the CJ said.
He also ordered the Comptroller of Prisons, Comptroller of Prison, Federal Capital Territory Command, Daniel Odaro, that prisoners should no longer be detained as a result of delay in payment of compensation.
The Comptroller of Prison, Federal Capital Territory Command, Daniel Odaro, informed the CJ that since the establishment of the prison in 1998, no inmate at the prison had benefited from the prerogative of mercy.
The CJ said he would confer with the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), with who he would be travelling in two weeks, to look into the issue.
The CJ yesterday ordered the unconditional release of two prisoners from the prison. He had ordered the release of six prisoners from Suleja Prison last Thursday.
Four of the six released prisoners were said to be standing trial for a joint act of negligence whose maximum sentence is six months. Most of them have, however, spent three months in prison custody, which is half of the maximum term of sentence already, without commencement of trial.
The last two released have been convicted and served their sentences fully but remained in prison custody due to a compensation fee penalty attached to the conviction. Both had failed to meet the required terms of settlement for release.
Following the default, the Magistrate’s Court that convicted them ordered their continued detention, which it described as ‘legal detention.’ The CJ ordered the release of all six prisoners.