The Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, has urged awaiting-trial inmates in the prisons to opt for plea bargain and reduced punishment for the offences alleged against them.
He expressed worry that the prisons had remained congested owing to a huge number of inmates that are awaiting trial.
He pointed out that appropriate use of plea bargain by awaiting-trial inmates would help to decongest the prisons.
A statement on Wednesday quoted the AG to have said this on Tuesday during a visit to Ikoyi Prison to educate the inmates on the modalities for plea bargain as provided in the Administration of Criminal Justice Law.
Kazeem, who was represented by the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bey, said, “Plea bargain will help to reduce the punishment for inmates, save public funds and time, and that is the reason why the state government is purposely using the initiative to also decongest prisons in the state.”
Shitta-Bey explained that for inmates to benefit from plea bargain, their lawyers would have to write to the attorney general making recommendations as to how they wish that the case be resolved.
“The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice would consider the facts of the matter and circumstances.
“Also, the granting of the application for plea bargain is at the approval of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice,” the DPP said.
The Controller in charge of Ikoyi Prison, DCP Tolu Ogunsakin, described the plea bargain gesture by the state as the answer to the prayers of many inmates, urging them to take advantage of it to regain their freedom.
“You have always been praying for freedom and the Lagos State Government has brought you the opportunity; so, embrace it and confess to the crime that brought you to prison instead of wasting your time and energy here,” he said.
Similar visit was made to Kirikiri prisons.