Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Friday, donated vehicles and other equipment to the Nigerian Prison Services in Lagos, stressing the need for major reforms to be carried out across the country to decongest prisons.
The vehicles donated include, five Toyota Hilux, five Green Maria and one ambulance, assuring that the vehicles would be delivered by September.
Governor Ambode, who made the donation when he received a delegation from the Nigeria Prison Services, Lagos Command, led by the Controller, Mr. Tunde Ladipo, at his residence in Epe, said the donation was his administration’s contribution to make the prisons more conducive.
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He expressed concern that Lagos was also having its fair share of congestion as over 70 percent of inmates across prisons in the state were awaiting trial.
“I am very concerned about congestion of prisons in the state. For a state like Lagos, where development is ongoing, it is bound to attract people from across other states and neighbouring countries and this means increase in population. We are providing this critical assistance to the prison authorities to make them more efficient and make our prisons more conducive.
“However, there is no better time to carry out reforms in our prisons and it is necessary especially, as regards the decongestion of the prison,” the governor said.
He assured that the State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy would look into some of the cases of inmates and see the possibility of granting official pardon to prisoners who have shown remorse, good behaviour and readiness to contribute meaningfully to the society.
Governor Ambode also directed the Special Adviser on Primary Healthcare, Dr. Olufemi Onanuga to provide adequate health services for all the prisons in the state so as to prevent any outbreak of diseases.
“Once a city is safe, people will be more productive and it also means more revenue will come into the state,” he said.
Earlier, Ladipo, said the visit was to remind the governor of their requests for some vehicles and equipment to enhance their capacity to effectively transport and secure inmates awaiting trail to the courts, some of which the governor granted at the visit.
Ladipo said as at January 31, 2018, there were 8191 inmates, comprising, 7887 males and 304 females, in custody across the five prison facilities in the state including the Maximum Security Prison, Kirikiri; Medium Security Prison, Kirikiri; Female Security Prison, Kirikiri; Ikoyi Prison and Badagry Prison.
He disclosed that out of the number, 6290 inmates were awaiting trail and attending the various court jurisdictions in the state.