Nosa Akenzua, Asaba
The Delta State Chief Judge, Honourable Justice Marshal Umukoro has lamented high rate of divorce petitions, attributing it to part of social vices contributing to congestion of prison in the State.
Justice Umukoro who released 77 inmates and granted bail to two at Ogwashi-Uku Medium Security Custodial Centre in Aniocha South Local Government Area, disclosed that between January and May this year alone157 dissolution of marriage petitions have been filed in various courts in the State, describing the ugly trend as worrisome.
The Chief Judge who has so far released 383 inmates out of 2143 warrants reviewed in the five Custodial Centres and Sapele Remand Home across the State, observed that such ugly trend has negatively impacted on juvenile delinquency, which in turn caused alarming rate of crime in the society.
Breakdown of total inmates released in the five correctional centres showed that at Warri 149 freed and six granted bail out of 787 warrants reviewed; Sapele out of the 252 reviewed 77 were pardoned and two granted bail; in kwale 42 released and four granted bail. 265 warrants were reviewed in Agbor out of which 38 freed and four granted bail.
While advising parents to monitor their children closely and conduct adequate profile of the friends they keep, the Chief Judge admonished youths to avoid bad company, noting that 80 percent of inmates whose ages were between 17 and 25 in Ogwashi-Uku prison were from outside the State.
“ Like as I always say, it shows that our family system is being threatened; many parents are not doing their home work, “ he stressed.
Decrying the adverse consequences of complainants who prematurely withdrew from rape cases, the Chief Judge stated: “It is unfortunate that most of the victims are being pressurized to settle and agreed to compound the offence; it is a drawback on the advocacy by FIDA, our women Lawyers and other NGO’s who are advocating that people charged with such offences should be tried.”
He admonished Lawyers who represent inmates to plead for mercy rather than having the mindset of inquiring into their guilt or innocence, even as he implored them to exercise discretion in order to balance the scale of justice.
Justice Umukoro who refused to release or grant bail to inmates charged with capital offences such as kidnapping, murder and rape, noted that such heinous crimes were rampant in the society.