The Kwara state Chief Judge, Justice Sulyman Kawu Thursday granted pardon to 16 prisons inmates Ilorin.
Speaking after a visit to the Nigeria Prisons Service located at Oke Kura and Mandala prisons, Ilorin, the state, the CJ said that the exercise was carried out on the request of the federal government through the state government to effect prison decongestion in parts of the country.
Justice Kawu said that the exercise was not aimed at short-crcuiting court trial.
He added that the inmates were granted freedom either for unlawful arrest and detention, or civil cases that required no detention.
It was gathered that the Oke Kura prisons with 121 capacity had a total of 425 inmates, while that of Mandala prisons had 160 capacity with 239 inmates.
The CJ, who said that he would pay regular visit to the prisons to effect prison decongestion, advised those freed to find something doing.
Said he: “We observe over time, that most of the inmates have skin disease and we urge the authorities of the prisons to take steps arrest the situation before it spreads to other inmates. Whatever we feel the state government can do for you as you requested earlier, we will try our best to contact the state government to fulfill its promise of providing vehicle for you and to take urge steps to provide medical inputs to treat those inmates who are sick.
“We have gone through the list of a total of 182 inmates consisting of convicted and awaiting trial and we have come to a decision, upon examination that 15 inmates are deserving of being released in custody today. The basis of our decision to release them is mainly because we are of the view that their detention is manifestly unlawful.
“We have seen that some of the cases are civil in nature and not criminal which will not attract any arrest or detention.
“We also observed that in some cases the instruments of arraignment are either defective or not available. No proceeding can issue out of invalid instruments. So we have taken steps to release these inmates.
“We also observed that there are some juveniles detained for belonging to a gang of thieves, through the facts contained in the First Information (FR). We are of the view that the facts do not support the allegations contained in the FIR. So we have ordered they be released forthwith.
“I just want to seize this opportunity to urge you to go and find something to do, because i will not want to find you back in the next one or 10 years. Please do not involve yourselves in any criminal act again.
Earlier, the officer in charge of Ilorin Prison, DCP Adeyinka Adebayo, said that facilities in the prisons were overstretched, adding that overpopulation situation had resulted in different kind of diseases like scabies, craw craw etc.
Source: The Nation