Anywhere in the world, 100 years is usually marked with fanfare but not so for Nigeria’s oldest prisoner, Pa Celestine Egbunuche, who clocked 100 last Saturday; August 4, within the confines of Enugu Maximum Prison.
The centenarian, who hails from Akokwa in Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State, was condemned to death along with his son, Paul and another relation, now 87.
They were said to have been engaged in a fight over a piece of land and in the process, somebody died. With such fate, Pa Egbunuche has for over 17 years lived in desolation and hopelessness.
But all hope is not lost as a non-governmental organisation, Global Society for Anti-corruption (GSAC) is pushing for his release. GSAC has appealed to the Federal Government and Governor Rochas Okorocha to use their board of mercy and release Egbunuche, his relative and son from prison.
Zonal Resource Executive of GSAC, Amaka Nweke pleaded with Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Priscilla Emehelu to look into the case of Pa Egbunuche whom she said their investigation showed might be Africa’s oldest inmate.
According to the NGO, Egbunuche has suffered from diabetes over the years, adding that with his age and failing health, it will be proper to release him to go and possibly die peacefully at home. If eventually released, the organisation would also want the Federal and State Governments to take care of Pa Egbunuche’s rehabilitation.
inmates of Enugu Maximum Prison have not had the luck of receiving Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to perform the usual granting of amnesty during ceremonial occasions like the Independence Day, Democracy Day and yuletide. Chief judge, Emehelu, during the 2018 jail delivery sessions in the three prisons in the state pardoned about 130 inmates.