Chief Justice Releases 9 Prisoners from Prison in Lagos State

Justice Opeyemi Oke, the chief judge of Lagos State, freed nine prisoners on the 6th of this month and directed magistrates in the state to deploy non-custodial sentencing for minor offenders to decongest the prisons. Five inmates out of 25 shortlisted were released from Medium Security Prisons. This included Saidi Raimi from Kwara who was released to a mental home. Four out of 10 others shortlisted were released from Maximum Security Prisons, Kirikiri, having been in custody between eight and 11 years. They were said to have stayed longer in custody than the number of years they would have spent if sentenced by the court for offenses charged.

The chief judge told the released inmates to, henceforth, be of good behavior and stay away from crime. She advised them to desist from any act that would bring them back to prison.

“Pursuant to the provisions of Sections 1(1) of the Criminal Justice (Release from Custody) Act, 2007 as well as Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution, you are hereby released from custody today, Dec 6, 2018. I want you to, henceforth, be of good behavior. Make sure you don’t breach any law again. Go out there and sin no more”, she admonished them.

Although 10 women were shortlisted from the female section for release, she regretted that none qualified for release. She said that their trials had commenced and they are presently on bail. One of them, Uche Emeasoba, however, had her bail conditions reduced from N1million to N500, 000 and the sureties reduced to one. Justice Oke explained that those granted amnesties were qualified for release after a thorough review of their case files. She also said the chief registrar had been directed to issue a circular immediately on her instruction to the magistrate courts.

She said, “All magistrates would, henceforth, be monitored to ensure compliance with the directive,” she said. All simple cases need not go to the police. The restorative justice center is a meditation center. If there is an agreement and the guilty one can pay for a missing tooth, why go to court? This is a way of decongesting the prisons.”

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