Godwin Obaseki, Edo State Governor

Jethro Ibileke/Benin

Eighty-four prison inmates have been granted pardon by the Edo State Government.

The State government, an unnamed donor agency, in conjunction with the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, also raised the sum N9 million to secure the release of the prisoners who could not meet their bail conditions due to their lowly status.

The State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, who made this disclosure in statement issued in Benin on Tuesday, said the benefiting inmates were from various prison formations in the State.

She said the pardon was in alignment with the Federal Government’s commitment to decongest prisons across the country.

She added that the move had the backing of office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, with the aim of tackling overcrowding in Nigerian Prisons.

According to her: “The high number of inmates awaiting trial for crimes ranging from stealing, breaking and entering and other minor offences, are the major causes of overcrowding. The state government is working hard to decongest and improve the living condition of prisoners as well as ensure proper rehabilitation of the inmates.”

Edo State Comptroller of Prisons, Mr. Joseph Usendiah, said 23 inmates were being released from the Benin prisons, while 61 inmates were to be released across the various prisons in Edo State, bringing the total number of those affected to 84.

He said the move would help decongest the already overcrowded prisons, as it would help the Ministry properly manage resources for the welfare of the remaining inmates.

One of the affected inmates simply identified as Efosa, who had been in prison since 2016, thanked the State Government for coming to their rescue.

He said he was now a changed man and promised to lead a crime-free life.