Thursday, April 14, 2016 2:57 pm
The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Oluwafunmilayo Atilade, on Thursday freed 31 inmates from the Ikoyi Prison in Lagos.
Atilade had on April 13 also freed 153 inmates from the Kirikiri Medium and Maximum Security Prisons.
While setting the inmates free, the Chief Judge admonished them to be of good behaviour and to ‘’go and sin no more.’’
Atilade said that the amnesty granted them was in tandem with the resolution of the judiciary to decongest prisons nationwide.
“Our goals are to ensure a reduction in the number of awaiting trial inmates and those whose cases are unnecessarily prolonged in court.
“The inmates to be granted amnesty are those who after thorough screening process are deemed eligible for release,” she said.
The chief judge commended the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Nigeria Prison Service and the human rights community for their contributions to the amnesty process.
She gave three requirements for inmates to be eligible for release.
“Prosecutors, the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) must provide detailed information to the Prison Decongestion Committee.
“Defendants must ensure that they attend court proceedings because this exercise is not for those who avoid court.
“Also, the Prison Service must provide detailed information on all inmates to avoid duplication of names,” Atilade noted.
Earlier, in his address of welcome, the Officer-in-Charge of the Ikoyi Prisons, DCP Ezeokwu Julius, said the 800-capacity prison currently housed 2,295 inmates.
“We currently have 2,009 awaiting trial inmates while just 286 inmates have been convicted,” he said.
Julius said the prison is run as a fully functional correctional facility with many programmes for reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration of the inmates.
He said that the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) has opened a study centre for inmates to acquire higher qualification.
In appreciation of her visit, the inmates presented to the chief judge perfumes, detergent, paint and other household items made by them.
The release was pursuant to the provisions of Section 1 (1) of the Criminal Justice Release from Custody Special Provision Act 2007.
The law empowers the chief judge to grant freedom to inmates who have been in custody for a period longer than they would have served if convicted of their alleged offences