Photo: Justice Obot (second right) and her learned brother; Justice Joy Unwana (left), Chief Registrar of State Judiciary; Ekpris Uruzjian and Assistant Controller of Corrections, Ikot Abasi; Mr. Boniface Momoh during the exercise

The Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaete Obot today granted amnesty to a 22 year-old prison inmate, John Sunday Akpan who was accused by his uncle of stealing a bunch of plantain from his late father’s compound.

John, a native of Ete in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area was set free by the Chief Judge during her inspection of Ikot Abasi Correctional Centre.

“My Lord, I was living in Port Harcourt until I came home to my village to clear my late father’s compound and I saw a bunch of ripe plantain and I cut it. When my uncle came back home, he did not see the plantain, he called Police to come arrest me and left me here in Prison since 8th March, 2022. Even the plantain that I cut has spoilt in the house. I am an orphan, the first son of the family. It would have been better if my uncle tell me to handover my late father’s lands to him than to dump me in Prison. My Lord, please, have mercy on me.” The inmate told the Chief Judge.

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In her ruling, the Chief Judge, Justice Ekaete Obot said “the number of years the inmate has spent in prison was sufficient punishment for the offense of stealing a bunch of plantain. He can’t be kept here indefinitely without prosecution. I hereby release him unconditionally.”

John was one of the three inmates of Ikot Abasi Correctional Centre that regained freedom including a 38 year-old father of two from Ikot Afang village in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area who said his village head accused him of stealing COVID-19 relief materials and was dumped in prison since 2020.