Law News
21 Kirikiri inmates regain freedom

Twenty-one awaiting trial inmates at the Kirikiri Medium Prison in Lagos State regained their freedom on Wednesday following a visit by the state Chief Judge, Justice Oluwafunmilayo Atilade.

Before the release of the 21 inmates, the Kirikiri Medium Prison, with a holding capacity of 1,700 prisoners, housed a total of 2,452 inmates.

Out of the 2,452, the number of inmates who were in custody awaiting trial was 2,349, representing about 96 per cent, while only 92 inmates had been convicted.

The bulk of those freed on Wednesday were in the category of inmates who had stayed in the prison longer than the prison term prescribed in law for their alleged offences.

The Lagos CJ, who freed the 21 inmates pursuant to Section 1 (1) of the Criminal Justice Release from Custody Act, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2007, charged them to “go and sin no more”.

“Those of you released should henceforth be of good behaviour. The state government is committed to a crime-free Lagos and anyone found committing crime will be arrested and prosecuted,” the CJ said.

Atilade appealed to non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders working with the prisons authorities to ensure that those released on Wednesday were properly re-integrated into the society.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Officer-in-Charge of the prison, Deputy Controller of Prisons, Kayode Odeyemi, expressed appreciation to Atilade for exercising the powers conferred on her by the law to release the inmates.

Odeyemi said the gesture found justification because most of the inmates were in prison for minor offences, which would not have attracted long prison terms if convicted.

“My Lord, today the criminal justice system of Lagos State has taken a leap in seeing that justice is done to all as a result of your visit to the prison because a good number of inmates with minor offences will be let off the hook,” he said.

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