An inmate of Okene Prison in Kogi State claimed smoking marijuana relieved him of emotional pain.
Mark Audu, a mechanical engineer and graduate of the Federal University of Science and Technology Minna, Niger State stated this when he pleaded for leniency during his encounter with the Kogi State Acting Chief Judge, Justice Josia Majebi who was on a prison tour as part of prison decongestion programme.
While responding to a question on why he is smoking weed Audu, from Ajaokuta, Kogi State, said: “I was always missing my father, so when I smoke weed it makes me sleep fully.”
The inmate who was admitted into the prison on 19th September 2022 was charged with intimidation, mischief and theft at Obangede Magistrate Court in Okehi Local Government, pleaded for leniency promising not to smoke weed again if he is left off the hook.
An officer at the medium-security custodial centre had explained that the inmate who was awaiting trial was brought to the correctional centre by his mother
According to him: “This is not the first time his mother would bundle him into the vehicle and bring him here. If he is not smoking, he behaves reasonably well; but the moment he leaves here, he will go back to it.”
Justice Majebi ordered the court to accord him an accelerated hearing of his case, even as he also urged operatives of the correctional centre to liaise with his mother for a better solution to ease him out of marijuana addiction.
During the inspection, the acting chief judge also instructed the police prosecuting officer to medically examine the mental health of another inmate, Mustapha Shaibu, who allegedly killed his mother and brother and was admitted to the correctional centre on 29th March 2021. The outcome of the test will facilitate a final decision on his case before the court, the judge affirmed.
Other proceedings of the day included the release on bail of one Yusuf Usman who was charged with theft and intimidation and the transfer of his case and that of Yahaya Salawu, 16, also accused of the same offence to the Magistrate Court Okene for further hearing.
The judge in his remarks said the essence of the prison visit was to ascertain and review cases of unlawful detention and over-delayed cases of people whose period of awaiting trial exceeded the punishment meant for the alleged offences they committed.
The Okene prison, a 160-capacity facility, presently harbours 71 convicts, comprising 48 males and one female convict, and 22 awaiting trial prisoners 20 of whom are males.