Judge’s absence stalls release of 796 awaiting trial inmates

The inmates have spent years in prison without trial.
The attempt by a non-governmental organisation to free 796 awaiting trial inmates from the Enugu Prison suffered a setback on Wednesday following the absence of the trial judge.

Justice M.L. Shuaib of the Federal High Court in Enugu, who has been handling the case, could not sit after his elevation to the Court of Appeal was announced.

The Carmelite Prisoners’ Interest Organisation, CAPIO, had dragged the Enugu State Government, the prison authorities and others to the court to seek the release of the inmates many of who have spent years in prison without trial.

Although all the parties to the case were present in court, it could not sit, leading to the adjournment of other cases slated for trial.

The News Agency of Nigeria learnt that the parties met behind closed doors with Justice Shuaib where the plaintiffs opted to apply for a transfer of the case to another justice.

CAPIO’s National Coordinator, a Catholic reverend, Ambrose Ekeroku, said that the organisation was not happy with the delay in the proceeding; but expressed joy that the judge had had been elevated.

Mr. Ekeroku said the organisation had already applied for the transfer of the case to another justice and hoped that this would be done in due course.


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