The old man’s ordeal began when he was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the age of 60, sparking concerns over the protracted and seemingly unjust nature of his detention.
The Headfort Foundation, a human rights group, played a pivotal role in securing Nyeche’s release.
The organization revealed that they became aware of his situation through a church member who participated in a prison outreach in March 2022.
Disturbed by the circumstances surrounding Nyeche’s case, the foundation decided to intervene and champion his cause.
According to a statement released on the Headfort Foundation’s Twitter page, they discovered that Nyeche’s case file had gone missing and that he had not been presented before any court between 2019 and 2023.
The foundation tracked down the missing file to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), and on October 20, 2023, brought Nyeche before the court, where he was re-arraigned for the crime of stealing.
Arguing on behalf of Nyeche, the Headfort Foundation contended that he should be released, highlighting that he had already spent more time in prison than the stipulated sentence for the crime of stealing if found guilty.
However, the EFCC requested an adjournment to prepare for trial, a request that the court granted.
Undeterred, the foundation’s legal team promptly applied for Nyeche’s bail, assuring the court that they would ensure his presence on the next adjourned date.
The court, considering the merits of the application, granted bail to Nyeche on the condition that the foundation ensures his appearance in court for the upcoming proceedings.
Finally, on October 20, 2023, after enduring over a decade of incarceration, Pa. Nyeche experienced the sweet taste of freedom.
“Nyeche, a 73-year-old man, was arrested by EFCC at the age of 70 sic (60), he spent 13years and 8months in prison awaiting trial. We took on his case after being referred by a church that went for prison outreach in March 2022. His case file went missing and he was not before any court between 2019 and 2023.
We traced his file to the DPP office and brought him before a court on 20th October 2023 when he was re-arraigned for the crime of stealing. We argued that Nyeche should be released because he has already served more than the provided sentence for the crime of stealing if found guilty.
On the other hand, the EFCC requested an adjournment to prepare for trial and the court granted same. Then our lawyer applied for his bail and undertook to ensure his presence in court on the next adjourned date. The court granted our application on the ground that we ensure his presence on the next date.
“Finally, on the 20th October, 2023, Pa. Nyeche experienced freedom after 13years and 8months in prison. Support Headfort Foundation to help others stuck in the Nigerian Justice System,” the statement read.