Lagos Chief Judge frees, counsels 153 prison inmates

The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Oluwafunmilayo Atilade, yesterday released 153 inmates from the Kirikiri Maximum and Minimum Prisons. According to reports, 129 inmates from the Medium Prisons and 24 inmates from the Maximum Prisons were freed by Atilade. Atilade had on July 17, 2015, granted 21 inmates from the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons freedom. 

The chief judge said the release of the inmates were part of efforts to redecongest the prisons. She said:“The purpose of this visit is not only to decongest the prisons, but to make sure that the beneficiaries contribute meaningfully to the society.” Atilade noted that the exercise was as a result of joint efforts by the Nigeria Prison Service, The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Non-Governmental Organisations and other stakeholders. “I appreciate the cooperation of the Heads, Prison Decongestion Committee, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye and Magistrate Fabunwo for their efforts in making today possible.”

 Atilade admonished the freed inmates to be of good behaviour and make positive impacts on the society, saying “I release you from prison custody, go and sin no more.” At the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, the Deputy Controller in charge of the prison, Mr Seye Oduntan, told the chief judge that the correctional facility had capacity for 1,056 but currently accommodating 1,235 inmates. “We currently have 1,235 inmates in the prison with 772 awaiting trial, 209 convicted and 83 serving life sentences.” ASP Olumide Akande, who is in charge of the Kirikiri Minimum Prisons, said the facility was overpopulated. He said:“The 1,700-capacity prison currently houses 2,853 inmates with 2,725 prisoners awaiting trial and 128 inmates convicted. We are 1,153 inmates above the capacity. 

“I urge Your Lordship to fast-track the dispensation of justice for the less privileged inmates to decongest the prison.” The 129 inmates freed from the Medium Prisons comprised individuals who had been in custody for not less than three years for capital offences and 18 months for non-capital offences. Seventy-nine of the freed inmates were held for capital offences, while 50 were for minor offences. Three of the freed inmates had been incarcerated for more than 16 years without trial.

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