LAGOS State Chief Judge Justice Oluwafunmilayo Atilade yesterday freed 31 inmates of Ikoyi Prisons, barely 24 hours after releasing 153 inmates in similar circumstance at Kirikiri. This brings to 184 the total number of awaiting trial inmates released from the prisons in Lagos.
The Chief Judge cautioned the inmates against returning to crime. She said her administration will continue to review cases of inmates who have no business being in prison. She said,
“Those of you that have been released today should see this as an opportunity for a new beginning. You must henceforth be of good behaviour and never return to crime”, “The purpose of this exercise is to achieve a reduction of the awaiting trial population in the prisons. Situations where cases are allowed to unnecessarily drag on in court will no longer be tolerated.”
Justice Atilade urged the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) to always provide the Prison Decongestion Committee information about awaiting trial inmates to enable many benefit from the exercise. She urged the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to develop a mechanism where inmates’ case files can easily be accessed and reviewed by the committee.
THE NATION reported that the prisons’ Deputy Comptroller Julius Ezeugwu said despite the large number of awaiting trial inmates, the facility’s personnel have continued to make the place truly reformatory. Ezeugwu said the place is run as a full correctional institute for reformation and rehabilitation of offenders. He said,
“It is pertinent at this juncture to state that our open out today stands at 2295 out of which Awaiting Trial Inmates (ATM) constitute 2009. This constitutes about 90 per cent while the convicted inmates are just 286 inmates. This is about 10 per cent in a prison with a lock up capacity of 800 inmates."