The Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Muntar Abimbola, on Tuesday released 30 inmates from the Agodi Prisons, Ibadan.
Twenty-five of those released were freed unconditionally and on the grounds that they had stayed in custod longer than expected through their trial process. Threethree were released on bail to continue their trials, one was released on legal advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) and the last, a juvenile was released to be taken to remand home.
Only two of the released inmates were female.
The release according to the CJ was in exercise of his powers to visit the prison to see how proceedings and trial of inmates have been going and also help to decongest the prison.
The session which started around 10am and lasted till around 5:10pm at the hall inside the Agodi Prisons was witnessed by top judicial officers, prison officials, officials of the directorate of public prosecution, lawyers, prosecutors, non government organisations, the police and officials of the Nigerian Bar Association.
The CJ said he would return in two weeks to consider more cases as there were plenty of them before his team.
Justice Abimbola noted that, the statutory exercise is expected to be frequent and essential for the decongestion of prisons and speedy trials.
In his welcome remarks earlier, the Controller of Prison, Oyo state Command, Akinrujomu Tosin noted that the prison’s facilities were over-stretched. According to him, the facility presently has 1,115 inmates with 945 awaiting trials, (15 of them being women) as against the 390 it was built to accommodate since the colonial era.
He said the gesture of the CJ is not only beneficial to the Prison Service but also to the inmates as “it will aid them to quickly move on with their lives if speedily acquitted and if otherwise, accept their sentences and fully benefit from rehabilitation, germane to the leadership of the service.”
Justice Iyabo Yerima urged the released inmates to be grateful for the privilege and not abuse same by shunning crimes and such other issues that brought them to the prison in the first place.
She pleaded with them to ensure they found good means of livelihood and contributed positively to the progress of the society.