Not less than 40 inmates facing criminal charges are languishing at the Minna Medium Security Prison, in Niger State, because their files are missing from the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) for the past six years.
This assertion was made during the annual visit to prisons by the State Chief Judge, Maria Sanda Zukogi, to review cases and grant required pardons to deserving inmates, both aimed at decongesting the prisons.
Some of the inmates whose case files cannot be traced are awaiting trial on capital offenses such as robbery, murder, rape and other offences.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that this has incapacitated the office of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), in the State Ministry of Justice, to appropriately advise whether or not to prosecute the inmates.
The chief judge said there was nothing she could do to have the inmates released from prison due to this anomaly. She however said she was holding the office of the SCIID responsible for the missing case files.
She pleaded with the inmates to continue to exercise patience and also directed the legal unit of the SCIID headed by Jude Akaeze to, ”within two weeks, produce the case files so that the office of the Attorney General can determine the level of their (inmates) implication in the charges against them.”
Mrs. Zukogi, however, pardoned 21 other convicted inmates who are either too old or have health challenges or have shown remorse. She also pardoned some whose sentences are about to end.
She warned them to be of good behaviour and to imbibe positive values so as to become useful members of the society.