BY ABDULWAHAB ABDULAH & ONOZURE DANIA
Lagos Chief Judge, Justice Ayotunde Philips yesterday released 233 inmates, majority of whom were awaiting trials at the Kirikiri Prisons, Lagos.
The exercise which formed part of the on-going new legal year programmes was also a step to de-congest the prisons.
Most of the lucky inmates have stayed for over 12 years.
The Chief Judge, who was accompanied by senior members of the judiciary including judges and the Chief Registrar, released 133 inmates from the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison and 103 from the Medium Security Prison.
She, however, shifted forward the attempt to release inmates from the women prisons, also located at Kirikiri.
Apart from the on-going legal year programme, the Chief Judge was empowered to release the inmates pursuant to the powers conferred on her under Section 1 (1) of the Criminal Justice Release from Custody Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2007.
In her remark, Justice Philips said, “ there is a saying in the legal circle that it is better for 10 guilty persons to be free than for one innocent person to be incarcerated.
“We have gone through the list of those recommended for release. So for those of you qualified to be released, you are very lucky that your name has come up. So, go and sin no more.”
She urged those released to turn a new leaf and go out to contribute their quota to the society, adding, “I promised during my swearing-in ceremony that I will do my best to decongest the prisons.”
Welcoming the team, the Deputy Comptroller of Prisons of the Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Mr. Olu Tinuoye disclosed that it is very unusual for chief judges of Lagos State to visit the prisons.
Also, the Medium Security Prison, Mr. Tunde Ladipo commended the efforts of the State government for taking care of the prisons.