Lagos Chief Judge, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade, wednesday freed 153 inmates of the Kirikiri Maximum and Medium prisons, majority of whom were awaiting trial between 18 months to 15 years.
The Chief Judge, who was accompanied by senior members of the judiciary including judges, magistrates, the Chief Registrar, officials of the Lagos Ministry of Justice and members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), released 24 inmates from the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison and 129 from the Medium Security Prison.
Among the 129 inmates released from the Medium prison, 79 were standing trial for capital offences while 50 were standing trial for minor offences.
In her remarks, Justice Atilade said the amnesty granted to the released inmates was part of her statutory duty to continuously ensure that the prisons are decongested.
She said the release of the inmates was in exercise of her power as the Chief Judge of the state pursuant to the provisions of Section 1(1) of the Criminal Justice Release from Custody Special Provision Act CAP C40, 2007, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
The chief judge said the gesture was not just aimed at decongesting the prison but also to ensure that deserving inmates are made to breathe fresh air of freedom.
She urged the beneficiaries of her amnesty exercise to reciprocate the gesture by ensuring that they do not return back to crime.
Justice Atilade also called on all relevant stakeholders in the justice sector to joined the prison decongestion effort.
Welcoming the team, the Deputy Comptroller in charge of Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Seye Oduntan, thanked the CJ for the amnesty gesture.
He pleaded with the CJ to ensure that the programme is a continuous one as more inmates who qualify for the exercise still abound in the prison.
Statistic posted on the notice board of the Maximum cell showed that the prison which has the capacity to accommodate 1,053 inmates is currently accommodating 1,235 inmates out of which 772 are awaiting trial, 83 are serving life sentence, 209 have been convicted while 171 are condemned prisoners.
Also, the Medium Prison which has a 1,700 cell capacity, is currently housing 2,853 inmates out of which 2,726 are awaiting trial, 128 have been convicted, 25 are lodgers, 19 are detainees while only one inmate is condemned.
The prison decongestion exercise continues today at the Ikoyi Prison.