The Ogun State Chief Judge, Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu, has granted amnesty to Twenty-Six (26) prison inmates awaiting trial, the judge using her prerogative during a three-day tour of the five prison formations across the three senatorial districts of the state.
Justice Dipeolu said that the second quarter’s prisons jail delivery was aimed at decongesting prisons after reviewing their cases, with inmates with no case files and having medical conditions, among others reasons, being discharged.
“The inmates were released with a view to decongest the prisons, and the exercise is in accordance with the service of the law under the custody act. I want to appeal to the released inmates to be of good behaviour, so that they do not return to the prison,” Dipeolu said
She recommended that the state government build more prison formations across the state in order to decongest the overpopulated ones, noting that all efforts that have so far been made to decongest prisons across the state’s prisons have failed.
“As you can notice here that more people are coming in on a daily basis, crime rate is really very high in our society and we all know that; that is why am recommending that more prison formations be built to accommodate criminals. We can only release those that are not supposed to be here,” Dipeolu stated.
She added that some prisons have doubled their capacity, a situation is not conducive to the health of inmates, society and the environment at large, saying that the courts are trying their best to decongest these prisons through the prisons courts, intervention weeks and jail delivery exercise; but that most of these prisons are still congested.
The chief judge pointed out that relatively new ‘New Abeokuta Prison’ was the only prison that was not highly congested due to its large capacity, compared to Ibara Prison which has a capacity of 510 inmates, but now houses about 1,164 inmates.
The judge called on government at all levels to find lasting solutions to prison congestion across the southwestern state, so as to also avoid the risk of jail break by the inmates.
Justice Dipeolu disclosed that two inmates were set free at Sagamu Prison, nine at Ijebu-Ode, three at Ilaro, while five and seven were released at the New Abeokuta prison and Ibara prisons, respectively.
In his remarks, Comptroller of Prisons, Ogun state Command, Mr Benson Abolade Victor, represented by the Assistant Controller of Prisons, Mr Bamidele Oshin, appreciated the State Chief Judge for the kind gesture, noting that the exercise was in furtherance of justice and liberties, attesting to the respite of jail delivery to the prisons community and a great impetus to the judiciary in the state.
“My Lord, it is the view and belief of these inmates that your prompt and timely visits always bring comfort, hope and succour to them all…,” he said
He further stated that the Nigeria Prisons Services’ view and mission of Reformation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration could hardly be appreciated as a result of the magnitude of Awaiting Trial Persons (ATPs) in various prisons all over the country, including Ogun State, noting that the presence of Chief of Judge was to carry out her statutory responsibility of jail delivery, so as to reassure families and help in easing their burdens indirectly.