The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade, on Tuesday, granted amnesty to 66 awaiting-trial inmates at the Kirikiri Medium Security Prison.
The chief judge granted the inmates – who were being held for alleged non-capital offences – freedom during her visit to the prison.
According to her, the move was part of the efforts of the judiciary and other stakeholders to decongest the prison, whose normal capacity was for 1,700 inmates, but as of Tuesday had a total of 3,326 inmates.
The judge further held that she was releasing the inmates in exercise of the power conferred on her as the Chief Judge by Section 1(1) of the Criminal Justice Release from Custody Special Provisions Act, Cap 40, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2007.
It is understood that thirty-five inmates were initially scheduled to be granted amnesty by Atilade.
The figure, however, rose to 66 inmates after the prison authorities appealed to her to free additional 31 inmates in order to decongest the heavily populated facility.
The additional 31 inmates released comprised majorly suspects picked from under bridges and streets of Lagos.
While admonishing the freed inmates to “go and sin no more,” Atilade said the only way to reciprocate the gesture was for them to thenceforth live a good life and be of good conduct.
“The impact of this exercise can only be felt when you, the beneficiaries of this amnesty gesture, show that you are truly reformed. I wish you the very best and you should see this as an opportunity to start afresh.
“You are, hereby, released from this prison today (Tuesday) May 9, 2017. Go and sin no more,” she said.
“Our visit to the Kirikiri Medium Security Prison is to ensure the reduction of awaiting-trial inmates and to make sure that cases are dispensed judiciously and within the permissible time frame.
“I hope the beneficiaries have learnt substantially from their previous mistakes and I hope that as they are reintegrated into the society, they will not do anything that will bring them back to the prison,” Atilade said.