At exactly 9.27am yesterday, the oldest inmate at Kodiaga Prison was all smiles as he walked to freedom.
When he stepped out, clutching his walking stick, Alphayo Gombe, 87, was received by 37 people who included relatives, friends and members of his Seventh Day Adventist Church. They sang, danced and ululated as people jostled to greet him.
He had been at the facility for 15 years serving a sentence for defilement, which he claims arose out of trumped-up charges.
Officials from Kodiaga Prison accompanied Gombe home to convince other relatives and friends to accept him back into the society.
For the first time, he afforded a laugh, his sunken eyes roving as he tried to recognise those who had come to pick him, his frail body well-covered in a grey stripped suit.
He was finally free. Yesterday, Kodiaga Prison was releasing him back to the society where he had been plucked from after the defilement case.