The Chief Judge of Lagos State , Justice Inumidun Akande yesterday freed 22 prisoners at the Kirikiri Medium and Female Security Prisons.

Those freed included 19 male and three female inmates who had been in custody for more period than they would have served if convicted of their alleged offences.

The gesture was part of activities to mark the 2010 Annual Law Week of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikorodu branch, aimed at decongesting the prisons in order to alleviate the plight of the inmates.

Observing that  some of the inmates were remanded for minor offences and could not meet their bail conditions, the chief judge noted that “so long that they are in prison, all the facilities provided for convicted ones who have committed serious offences will be shared with those awaiting trial who ought not to be in prison for a long time.

“This is why this exercise is very important because it is aimed at moving the administration of justice forward.”

Akande also stressed the need for the amendment of some provisions of the law in order to remove stringent bail conditions for minor offences.

Also speaking, Deputy Controller of Prisons, Aremu Tajudeen, disclosed that the prison had 1,945 awaiting trial male and 98 convicts making a total of 2,043 inmates.

Kazeem Adebanjo, Chairman, NBA, Ikorodu branch, also called for the liberalisation of bail conditions which, at present, was working against justice.

According to him, “if the bail conditions were liberal, most of the persons here would not have been here today. We are agitating that the section that deals with arbitrary arrests of persons under the guise of loitering and vagabonds should be expunged from our laws.”

One of the freed inmates, Taiwo Kayode, an Odua People’s Congress (OPC) member still in his early 30s, was arrested for possession of a dane gun and had been in custody for six years awaiting trial.

—Henry Ojelu

  Copyright protected by Digiprove © 2010 P.M.News