Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade on Wednesday granted amnesty to 153 inmates of the Kirikiri Maximum and Medium prisons who have been awaiting trial for three years and above.
Of the 153 inmates released, 24 were from the Maximum prison, while 129 were from the medium prison. Three of the inmates released from the Medium prison have been awaiting trial for over 16 years.
Among the 129 inmates released from the Medium prison, 79 were standing trial for capital offences while 50 were standing trial for minor offences.
Justice Atilade released the inmates under the prerogative of power vested on her pursuant to provision 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 also said the amnesty extended to the inmates was part of her statutory duty to continuously ensure that the prisons are decongested, while urging all relevant stakeholders in the justice sector to join the prison de-congestion effort by taking up pro bono services for those who cannot pay for lawyers.
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The Kirikiri Maximum Prison built with a capacity for 1,056 currently houses 1,235 inmates. While 772 of the inmates are awaiting trial, 83 are serving life sentence, 209 have been convicted while 171 are condemned prisoners.
At the Medium prison which has a 1,700 cell capacity, 2,853 inmates are currently at the prison. Out of this, 2,726 are awaiting trial, 128 have been convicted, 25 are lodgers, 19 are detainees while only one inmate is condemned.
Justice Atilade enjoined the beneficiaries of her amnesty exercise to reciprocate the gesture by ensuring that they do not engage in any activity that would have them return to crime.
On the visit to the prison, Justice Atilade was accompanied by senior judges from the state judiciary, officials of the Lagos Ministry of Justice, members of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, various Non-Governmental Organisation and representatives of the Nigerian Police.
In December last year, Justice Atilade had also granted 10 inmates of the Ikoyi Prison amnesty as part of her efforts at decongesting the prisons but ensuring that deserving inmates could breathe a fresh air of freedom.