A woman held for allegedly stealing N400 cocoyam has been released on the order of Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State.

A statement, yesterday, by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Emma Anya, said the Chairman of the NHRC, Professor Ben Angwe.

“We saw very pathetic cases. We saw a woman with two children in the prison accused of stealing cocoyam worth N400. They gave her difficult bail conditions, which required two sureties, who are on Level 16 in the civil service.

“You can imagine somebody, who was accused of stealing N400 worth of cocoyam; what access will she have to a Grade 16 official of government?”

According to him, the Governor said: “Holding that woman in prison is an unnecessary punishment. Attorney-General, you will have to follow the state Comptroller of Prisons and secure her release. Send your people to surety the woman and let her leave the place. Get people on Level 16 to do so.”

Angwe had, while reading the report of the investigative panel, also mentioned the case of an old man on awaiting trial for 11 years, saying his case was heart rending. Angwe said: “There is also a case of an old man, who has stayed 11 years in that prison without trial. If the man is discharged what amount of compensation will be adequate for someone who is kept without trial for 11 years?

“In fact, the old man is not the only one awaiting trial; more than 80 percent of the inmates in that prison are awaiting trial.”