The Lagos Chief Judge, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, Tuesday released 88 awaiting trial inmates from the female and male sections of the Medium Security Prison, Kirikiri, Lagos, South West Nigeria.
The released inmates included eight women and 80 men, who had been awaiting trials for upward of between three and nine years.
Justice Phillips had earlier released 279 inmates from the Kirikiri Maximum and Medium Security Prisons and Ikoyi prisons last year.
The exercise was aimed at decongesting the prisons and in exercise of the Chief Judge’s powers under Section 1 (1) of the Criminal Justice Release from Custody Special Provision Act CAP C40, 2007, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
The Chief Judge, who was accompanied by senior members of the judiciary, including judges and the Chief Registrar, admonished the freed inmates to be of good behaviour.
“There is a saying in the legal circle that it is better for 10 guilty persons to be free than for one innocent person to be incarcerated.
“I release you all from custody today and admonish you to go and sin no more,” she said.
Justice Phillips remarked that the matter of awaiting trials and decongestion of prisons was very close to her heart.
Earlier, the Deputy Controller of the female section, Ishioma Onweli, said she had compiled a list of 16 other inmates and pleaded with the Chief Judge to look into their cases.
Mrs Onweli said they were afflicted with different ailments like tuberculosis, HIV, hypertension, diabetics, among other diseases.
She said the female facility built to accommodate 211 had 207 inmates, out of which, 167 are awaiting trial, 36 convicted, three were condemned, while one was on a life sentence.
The deputy controller of the male section of the medium prison, Tunde Ladipo said in spite of the volume of those released, the prison was still congested with awaiting trials.
“We need you to visit this place again to lessen our burden,” he pleaded.
He also disclosed that the male section, which was built to accommodate 1,700 inmates, presently houses 2,496 out of which 2,344 are awaiting trials and 152 are convicted.
The visit of Justice Phillips to the male section of the prison was marked with a novelty football match, choir ministration and drama.