25th September, 2013
The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, on Wednesday set free no fewer than 119 inmates from Kirikiri Medium and Maximum Security Prisons in Lagos.
“Go and sin no more,” Phillips told the inmates during a visit.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the visit was part of activities marking the 2013/2014 Legal Year of the state judiciary.
Twenty inmates were released from the maximum prisons, while 99 were set free at the medium prisons.
She said the exercise was aimed at decongesting the prisons of inmates particularly those who had been awaiting trial for several years.
“This is my third visit to Kirikiri since I was sworn in as chief judge on June 14, 2012.
“I must say that despite my routine visits, the figures of inmates keep rising. So, for those of you who are fortunate to be on the roll today, I admonish you to refrain from crimes.
“It will indeed be so painful that after your release you are again found wanting and brought back here.
“It will be a mockery on me and other members of the judiciary here present if you are seen here again, ” Phillips said.
Earlier, the Controller of Prisons, Mrs Catherine Ononye, expressed gratitude to Phillips for the gesture, saying the exercise will reduce the number of awaiting trial inmates.
Ononye, who bemoaned the poor capacity of the prisons, said the facility was meant for prisoners and not those awaiting trial.
“There are 2,554 inmates in the medium prisons with capacity for only 835. And out of this number, more than 2,100 are awaiting trial.
“At the maximum prisons, there are 748 inmates of which 400 are awaiting trial.
“This makes the visit of the chief judge important as the prison is meant for prisoners, and not those awaiting trial, ” she said.