Three inmates of the Kirikiri Medium prison who have been awaiting trial for over 16 years were freed today alongside other 150 inmates of both the Kirikiri Maximum and Medium prisons.
The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade granted freedom to the 153 prisoners while exercising 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.
Among the 129 inmates released from the Medium prison, 79 were standing trial for capital offences while 50 were standing trial for minor offences.
According to Justice Atilade, the decision to extend the amnesty to the inmates was part of plans to decongest the Kirikiri maximum prison which was built with a capacity for 1,056 but presently housing 1,235 inmates.
While the medium prison which has capacity for 1,700 currently plays host to 2,853 inmates.
Justice Atilade was accompanied on the visit 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 his remark, 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.
The Lagos State Controller of Prisons, Timothy Tinuoye pleaded with Justice Atilade to use her office to prevail on the authority concerned to do something about 171 condemned prisoners awaiting execution in the Maximum security prison.
Recalling the condemnation that followed the decision of the Edo state government approving execution of some condemned criminals a few years ago, Tinuoye lamented that every governor have since then refused to sign the warrant for the execution of the condemned criminals.
He pleaded that if governments are not ready to execute them, the authority concerned should move them out of Lagos in order to decongest 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.
While 772 of the inmates are awaiting trial, 83 are serving life sentence, 209 have been convicted while 171 are condemned prisoners.