It was a pathetic drama in the Owerri High Court premises Friday morning when an inmate who is believed to have awaited trial in prison for upwards of seven years was acquitted of any wrong doing and discharged by an Owerri Magistrate Court.
According to CrimeFacts, instead of the usual jubilation that follow any ruling of ‘discharged and acquitted’, the inmate, Sylvester Obata (not real names); wearing a long face, headed straight for the Prison van that brought them to court, only to be intercepted by a prison guard who reminded him he was free to go home.
To the chagrin of eyewitnesses, Obata said he was going nowhere demanding to be allowed entry into the Prison Van back to prison.
The prison guard who mistook Obata’s statement for a weird joke was jolted when he tried to push him away from the prison van and was defiantly resisted by the freed inmate.
What seemed like a mild drama turned nearly absurd when the calm of the court premises was shattered by Obata’s shouts and pleas to be allowed to go back to prison and he thrashed about and struggled with several prison officials who wanted him out of the court and on his way home.
According to eyewitnesses, it took the effort of over six prison officials, court workers and policemen to get the freed inmate out of the court premises.
Obata who refused to buldge even in the face of threats of brutality by security men, had to be dragged on the floor while he raised hell in the court premises.
Outside the prison, Obata sustained his raving, telling whoever cared to listen why he should be allowed to remain in jail.
According to him, setting him free was no big deal, but his plight outside prison is what the court should have also considered.
“I have no place to go or anybody to go to. I have no job or business.I want to go back to prison where I can at least be sure to eat something everyday.”
The evidently apprehensive former prison inmate, demanded to see the Chief Judge of the state to plead his case himself and explain to him why it was better to keep him in prison than outside prison.