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Hon. Chief Justice of Lagos State grants state pardon to 66 inmates at the Kirikiri prison.

Prison is a social reform place where criminals, offender of state laws are kept to serve their proportionate punishment for their offences.

Freedom is priceless; the essence of prison custody is to serve as a place for positive reform of the persons and not for punitive purposes except the gravity of the offence is capital offence in nature.

The Chief justice of Lagos State exercise prerogative of mercy and grants pardon to 66 inmates at the Kirikiri Maximum prison in the state.

The Chief Judge, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade, exercise her official prerogative of mercy to all the 66 inmates at the prison custody on the basis that these inmates have been in custody for a very long period of time for awaiting trial.

Awaiting trial is the process whereby a presume offender of state laws are arrested and arraigned before a competent court. At the first arraignment, the court will therefore ordered that the person be kept in prison custody pending either his bail or proper prosecution of his matter by the state prosecution team.

The Chief Judge, Justice Atildade freed the 66 inmates, who were being held for alleged non-capital offences, during his visit to the prison on Tuesday.

The Chief Judge, stated that the essence of the pardon 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 9th May, 2017 had a total of 3,326 inmates.

The prerogative of mercy was exercised in line with Section 1(1) Criminal Justice Release from Custody Special Provisions Act Cap 40, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2007.

It was disclosed that initially 35 inmates were shortlisted for pardon to be exercised by the Chief Justice of Lagos State but the figure later rose to 66 inmates after the prison authorities appealed to the Chief Justice to pardon and free an additional 31 inmates in order to decongest the prison.

The additional 31 inmates released comprised majorly of suspects that committed minor offences, offenders arrested from under bridges and streets of Lagos.

It was further disclosed that over 100 requests for pardon were received by the Amnesty Committee headed by Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, out of which 35 were approved.

The real essence of prison custody was captured by the Chief Justice of Lagos State, Hon. Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade while addressing the freed inmates, the CJ admonished the freed inmates to go and sin no more, and that the only way to reciprocate the gesture was for them to henceforth 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, May 9, 2017. Go and sin no more,” she said.

It was further concluded that the objective and aim of the prerogative of mercy to pardon inmates exercise was not only to decongest the prison but to ensure that the freed inmates were truly reformed and could contribute meaningfully to the society.

The inmates expressed their gratitude over the state pardon and promised to life a better life and be of good conduct in the society.