20th February, 2012
The Most Reverend Valerian Okeke, Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha, has urged the police and the judiciary to expedite action on awaiting-trial inmates as part of measures to decongest prisons in the country.
Okeke made the appeal after holding a mass for inmates of Onitsha Prisons as part of activities marking the 10th anniversary of his ordination on Sunday.
He said the daily growing number of awaiting-trial inmates should give well-meaning individuals cause for concern.
“I commend the Federal Government for taking care of a large number of inmates in prisons nationwide.
“There is a great need to expedite action on some of the awaiting-trial cases that have taken a long time as justice delayed is justice denied,” he said.
The archbishop, however, urged public-spirited individuals and groups to contribute their quota to the reformation of the prison inmates.
“We should remember that these inmates would one day re-join the society and they need reformation and correction,” he added.
In a homily, Bishop Martin Uzoukwu, Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Minna, Niger State, told the inmates to forgive anyone who dumped them in the “correction schools.”
“I implore you, while in this school trying to learn, to be obedient to prisons authority and be useful to yourself and the community whenever you leave this school,” Uzoukwu said.
On the December 25, Madalla bomb blast, Uzoukwu thanked the Federal Government for its intervention, adding that the diocese and people of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church were coping with the incident and its challenges.
He said the incident had brought a lot of attention and help to the diocese, saying, “we continue to pray that such incident would not happen again anywhere in the country.”