By Wale Ibrahim, Lokoja
The Chief Judge of Kogi State, Justice Nasir Ajanah has urged stakeholders in the administration of criminal justice in the state to ensure that no monetary deposits are taken for bail.
Justice Ajanah who was at the Federal Prisons, Idah on his prison decongestion tour cautioned judicial officers and other stakeholders not to abuse the processing of bail.
Ajanah emphasized that bail remained free and directed Magistrates to, “inform any accused person before you, whom you grant bail, that he is not supposed to deposit any money in your courts.
“The accused persons have alleged that they were asked to deposit money before being released. When bail is granted, no accused person is supposed to deposit any money.
“The sureties will sign a bond and it is only when they are not able to produce the accused person that the bail will be forfeited and payment will be made to government coffers.
“This is a common trend that I have noticed and I must point it out to all magistrates in this area,” He said.
The Chief Judge reviewed 20 cases at the 50-inmate capacity prison built in 1901 and currently hosting one lifer, 26 convicts and 23 Awaiting Trial inmates.
Ajanah released one Ahmadu Bello standing trial for criminal trespass and attempt to commit rape saying that having spent one year and three months in detention, the accused was unjustifiably detained.
He said that the detention of the accused had exceeded time allowed by the constitution as the punishment attached to the offence upon conviction was one year in prison.
The Chief Judge also called on the authorities to either build a new prison in Idah or reconstruct the existing one.
“I have noticed with concern that this is an old prison and it is in a dilapidated state. I think it is high time either a new prison is built or this place is given a face-lift,” He said.