The Chief Judge of Lagos, Justice Kazeem Alogba, has freed 18 inmates of Kirikiri Medium Security Custodial Centre awaiting trial in the state.
Justice Alogba released the awaiting-trial inmates on Tuesday during an open court session held on the premises of the Lagos State Magistrates’ Court in Igbosere, Lagos Island area of the state.
This comes as part of efforts to decongest the correctional facilities and prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
“The selection of the pardoned inmates followed due diligence because, from past experience, inmates who were undeserving of pardoned had been inadvertently released,” he said.
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Those released were said to have been granted pardon pursuant to Section 1 (1) of the Criminal Justice Release from Custody Special Provision Act, 2007.
Justice Alogba however advised the lucky inmates not to return to crime.
He warned that with the state’s database and fingerprints of criminals, harsher punishment awaited them if they were ever caught committing a crime.
“Don’t think that if you go back and breach the law, we won’t know; we will know because in Lagos State we now have a database and fingerprints. If you are caught in crime and brought back, your punishment will be severe,” Justice Alogba said.
Meanwhile, the Controller of the Lagos Command of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Samuel Iyakoregha appealed to the Chief Judge to direct that criminal cases should be heard early in the day especially because inmates taken out for court hearings were often returned late to the custodial facility owing to the poor state of the road.