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Oyo Chief Judge Grants Freedom To 38 Inmates, Aims To Decongest Prisons

20 March

The Chief Judge (CJ) of Oyo State, Justice Iyabo Yerima, has granted unconditional release to 38 Oyo Medium Security Custodial Centre inmates, at Abolongo in Oyo Town.

At her visit to the centre on Tuesday, Yerima said the exercise was to see to inmates’ welfare and decongest the facility by discharging those who had been denied access to justice.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that among the 38 inmates, 18 were released on health grounds, having diseases such as septicemia, liver cirrhosis, severe rashes, and epilepsy.

NAN recalls that 33 inmates had earlier been released on Monday by the CJ at Agodi Custodial Centre, Ibadan, bringing the number of inmates released in the state to 71.

Yerima said some of the released inmates had spent more time than what they could serve given the offences they were charged with.

While stressing that the gesture would bring succour to the released inmates, she expressed hope that they had learnt their lessons and would go on to live peaceably within the society.

“Some inmates were released on compassionate grounds, some, due to sicknesses, while some regained freedom because they had overstayed; others because the legal advice says they should be released.

“We have been facing this issue of congestion of the court for a long time, and we have to look for a good and proper time to be able to conclude.

“It’s been tedious; the process is long as we have to call on registrars and magistrates so that we can know the decision of the cases.

“That is the way it is. It’s not something that can be rushed, hence we started early.

“We intend to have another shot in three months,” she said.

Yerima assured that cases would be dispensed early as part of efforts to decongest both the court and correctional centres.

The Comptroller of Corrections, Oyo State Command, A.O. Salami, expressed delight that the CJ responded to his appeal on time.

According to Salami, the Agodi facility in Ibadan, with a capacity of 380 inmates, held 1,250 before the release of the 31 inmates on Monday.

“This is why we have been calling on the Chief Judge to help in decongesting the facilities,” Salami said.

One of the justices on the entourage of the CJ, Justice A. L. Akintola, said those released should be thankful to God, the CJ, and the Comptroller for facilitating their release.

He urged them not to abuse the privileges given to them and to shun the vices that brought them to the centre.

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