By Henry Ojelu
On Wednesday, Lagos State Chief Judge, CJ, Justice Kazeem Alogba, freed 38 inmates of the Ikoyi and Badagry Custodial Centres.
The inmates were pardoned at an open court session presided over by the Chief Judge on the premises of the Lagos State Magistrates’ Court in Igbosere.
Out of the 38 inmates released, two were from Benin Republic, two from Niger Republic and one from Togo.
Upon the release of the foreign inmates, the CJ ordered that they are repatriated back to their various countries.
Lagos CJ, Justice Alogba, who noted that the exercise was in line with the efforts by the Federal Government to decongest the prisons to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, stated that he granted the inmates pardon pursuant to Section 1(1) of the Criminal Justice Release from Custody Special Provision Act.
Releasing the inmates, Justice Alogba urged them to be of good behaviour, adding that harder punishment would be meted out on any of the inmates caught committing a crime again.
He said: “With the variety of cases heard today, we can see that we need to do more. We saw some lapses of which we need to take care of; some from the point of the judiciary.
“I have noted the lapses and immediate steps will be taken on them. It also became clear that some of those released today (Wednesday) were workers who were not paid and resulted in helping themselves and that’s where they had a brush with the law.
“If we are looking at it from the moral side, it’s unfair for employers to not pay their employees. But if it’s a society where access to justice is cheaper and more open, those inmates wouldn’t have resorted to helping themselves.
“My advice to the released inmates is to sin no more because if they are caught again and brought back to the court, severe punishment awaits them,” the Lagos CJ, added.