The Chief Judge of Nasarawa State, Justice Suleiman Dikko, has granted pardon 23 awaiting trial inmates in Laifa, Wamba, Keffi and Nasarawa.
Dikko gave the figure on Friday at the Nasarawa Prisons, Nasarawa Local Government Area, while briefing newsmen at the end of his four-day tour of prison formations across the state.
Dikko said that out of the 23, nine were from Lafia Prison, two from Wamba Prison, eight from Keffi Prison and four from Nasarawa Prisons.
He said that the routine prison visit was part of his duties aimed at decongesting prisons in the state and ensuring justice to inmates wrongly detained.
Dikko frowned at the attitude of counsel who abandoned their cases in courts and allowed their clients to languish in prison custodies.
He urged the National Human Rights Commission to get in touch such counsel and request that they should continue with the matters.
“Inadequate police counsel and counsel from the state ministry of justice is one of the things responsible for delay in justice delivery and prisons congestion.
“Both the police and the state ministry of justice need to get more hands by employing more counsel in order to effectively prosecute the rising number of cases in the state,” he said.
He urged the police, prisons authorities and other stakeholders to rise up to their responsibilities to ensure speedy administration of justice in the state.
The chief judge also assigned counsel from the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria to inmates awaiting trial who lacked money to engage the services of counsel.
He advised the discharged inmates to exhibit good character and shun crimes to avoid being returned to prison.
Earlier, Mr James Lander, Deputy Controller in charge of Keffi Prison, said that the prison lacked vehicles, accommodation and potable water, among some other necessary things.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the state controller of prisons, members of Human Right Commission in the state; official of Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, judges and private lawyers accompanied the chief judge on the visit.