- An interesting story has been told of how a Nigerian gardener and security guard, Otoobong, was remanded in cell for doing nothing wrong
- Unfortunately, Otoobong was instrumental in the sale of a car stolen by some persons linked to him
- It took the intervention of a prison initiative, Headfort Foundation, which took up Otoobong's case and helped in his release from custody after a year and six months
Lagos - The Headfort Foundation, a prison reform initiative, has narrated how a Nigerian man, Otoobong, who was a gardener in Lagos remained in cell for over a year for doing nothing wrong.
Headfort recalled that sometime in 2020, Otoobong's friend called him to inform him of a car he wanted to sell. Otoobong told his friend he would check for a buyer and when he did, he referred his friend to the buyer.
But the organisation noted that unknown to Otoobong, his friend with some group of people stole the car and wanted to sell it.
On the 24th of December, 2020, some policemen tracked the car and found Otoobong's friend with his group. They arrested them and during the investigation, they arrested Otoobong.
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After about 5 months in the cell, Otoobong was given the opportunity to make calls. He called his family and the school authority, they got to the station but did not come back because the bail sum was #2,000,000.00.
On the 6th of August, 2021, Otoobong and the rest were arraigned before the Magistrate Court at Ogba for the offence of armed robbery and remanded in the correctional centre.
In May, 2022 while still awaiting legal advice, Otoobong was taken to the Magistrate Court while others went to the High Court.
It was then Otoobong brought it to the court's knowledge and the court promised they would resolve the issue.
The organisation, speaking on how Otoobong's release from cell came about, said:
"On the 17th of August, 2022, while our team at Ogba Magistrate Court were on court cell visitation, they met Otoobong and took his brief.
"They carried out a search and found out the Legal Advice had been issued since 2021 and it stated that Otoobong should be released as he was innocent.
"On the 8th of September 2022, our lawyer- Onuagu Thecla represented him in court. The court affirmed that the advice was issued in 2021 but was not brought before the court. The court read out the legal advice which says that the other defendants should be prosecuted at the High Court, while Otoobong be released and discharged. The Court released him immediately.
"He spent one year and six months in custody."
Surprise, outrage as inmate of Owerri prison spends 14 years awaiting trial
In what can be described as another terrible tale from the country, a Nigerian had reportedly spent 14 years of his youthful years awaiting trial in Owerri prison.
This was discovered when two Catholics priests, Rev. Fr. Remigius Him and Rev. Fr. Jude Onuoha, went to the prison to celebrate their priestly silver jubilee with the inmates.
Speaking on behalf of the inmates, the Provost of the inmates, Onyeka Mbaeri, disclosed that he had spent 14 years awaiting trial in the prison.