COVID 19: 249 prisoners set free in Ogun

James Ogunnaike – Abeokuta

The Chief Judge of Ogun State, Hon. Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu has ordered the immediate release of 249 inmates from the five Correctional Centres across the State.

Speaking during a visit to various centers in the State, Dipeolu said the release of the inmates was based on the federal government’s decision to decongest Correctional Centres, as parts of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, noting that those released were men and women with cases ranging from stealing, burglary, assault to bodily harm and other minor cases.

She noted that the decongestion would improve social distancing measures, thereby reducing the spread of the virus at the Correctional Centres, urging the released inmates to go back to the society and be useful for the entire nation and refrain from sinful acts.

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Justice Dipeolu said the release was imperative, to prevent the inmates from contacting COVID-19 virus, noting that, those considered were those having few years to complete their jail terms, old ages, those with the option of fine, those that have spent 50 percent of their jail terms and those on medical-related matters.

She explained that some inmates awaiting trial, ought not to remain in custody, were matters for which they were charged for was not murder or armed robbery were also considered, adding that, where it was discovered that the prosecution of the cases was moving at a slow pace or not heard at all for one reason or the other were also pardoned.

48 inmates were freed in Ijebu-Ode, 41 in Sagamu, 7 in Ago farm settlement, near Ijebu-Ode, 54 were released in Ibara, 32 in New Oba Prison, while 67 inmates were released at Ilaro Correctional Centres respectively.

While addressing journalists, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Akingbolahan Adeniran, said the federal government had so far released 2,600 inmates in various prisons across the country to curb the spread of coronavirus.

He added that, with the federal government’s directive, which the Governor in his determination to decongest the Centres, has granted unconditional pardon and clemency to 249 convicts serving various terms in the Correctional Centres across the state.

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He said, “the Governor did this in line with federal government’s directive to decongest the prisons, following the outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus disease, which currently ravaging the entire world, so that it won’t escalate in the country”.

Adeniran maintained that the idea of social distancing, which was being preached in the country, as well as in the state may not be attained if the Correctional Centres were not decongested.

“The social distancing will not be attained because of the way the inmates are arranged at these Correctional Centres, and I urged that the convicts pardoned be accepted by their relatives, villages and families”, Adeniran said.

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