A church chorister, Henry Edeki was among 23 inmates who regained freedom at the Custodian Centre of the Nigerian Correctional Services in Sapele, Delta State during a visit by the state Chief Judge, Justice Marshall Umukoro.
Edeki who was arraigned for conspiracy and armed robbery of N50, 000.00 since 2012 when he was remanded at the custodian centre, was overwhelmed when he breathed the sweet air of freedom after seven year behind bars, as he thriller stakeholders with gospel renditions in Urhobo and English languages.
The Chief Judge had in previous visit to the custodian centre at Warri, released 36 inmates. Those released were on the grounds of ill health, age, lack of diligent prosecution and those who had overstayed the statutory jail term if they had been convicted.
Speaking during the visit to Sapele, Justice Umukoro decried the alarming number of youths in prison custody across the state, noting that youths between the ages of 17 and 25 constituted 95 percent of the 967 warrants of inmates reviewed so far at the two prisons.
He attributed the trend to breakdown of family system and abdication of parental responsibility, stressing that the affected young ones were dissipating the most critical period of their lives in prison, rather than channelling same to useful purpose to themselves, family and society.
While advising youths to avoid bad association, the Chief Judge admonished those granted mercy to refrain from crime and all manner of bad conduct that would bring them back, warning that there would be no second chance.
The released inmates thanked the Chief Judge for his mercy and giving them opportunity to live a responsible life, saying that they would turn a new leaf and never to go back to their old way of life.