The Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Munta Abimbola has pardoned 124 inmates at the Agodi Prision in Ibadam and the Medium Security Prision, Abolongo in Oyo town
On Thursday, the Chief Judge released 84 inmates from the Agodi Prison, Ibadan and on Friday pardoned 40 inmates of the Medium Security Prison, Abolongo in Oyo town.
At the over 6hours proceeding within the Abolongo prison, cases of the recommended inmates were mentioned with facts of each case presented with the CJ seeking the counsel of other stakeholders present before taking decision on any inmate.
Justice Abimbola maintained that the released inmates were set free based on the fact that some of them have stayed too long in custody in view of their offences, some others were released on health grounds while some others regained their freedom on sympathetic ground.
He stressed that the release was in exercise of his powers to visit the prison to see how proceedings and trial of inmates have been going and also help to decongest the prison.
Speaking before the session, Justice Abimbola said ” the exercise is not to release very hardened criminals into the society but to ensure that justice is done to all.”
“We are here as judicial officials to perform our statutory duty. It is axiomatic to say that the prison is congested and that there is need to do more to make sure justice is done fairly to all parties concerned.
Justice is not only for those on trial but also for the victims and the society, that is why we must always be careful in releasing inmates.”he said.
Justice Abimbola added “we considered only 106 cases who have committed bailable offences at the magistrate courts. All cases pending in the High Court are going to be given accelerated hearing while those on capital trials that are supposed to have been charged but still held back as a result of whatever challenges were also looked into.”
“The exercise is not to releases very hardened criminals to the society but to ensure that justice is done to all the parties concerned. The exercise of prison visit and power to release is not a power capriciously exercised but intended on three grounds that: Any inmate that is found to be unduly staying longer in prison after serving his terms. There are some that the circumstances of their arrest needs to be address and given freedom and there are some persons whose circumstances deserve further attention such as health and such other.”
Emphasizing that the exercise will be periodic, “the CJ lamented the situation where the Abolongo prison housed the highest number of inmates with capital offences.
In his welcome remarks, the Controller of Prison, Oyo state command, Mr. Kasali Yusuf appreciated the CJ for finding out time to visit the Agodi Prison saying the prison had been waiting all along for the visit, saying, just like the Agodi facility had been having challenges with the utilities as a result of overpopulation of the inmates.
Mr Yussuf stated that the Abolongo Prison, Oyo had 429 inmates with no fewer that 353 of the inmates are presently awaiting trials while only 76 have been convicted of various offences.
He however lauded Justice Abimbola for the initial release of inmates at the Agodi prisons, Ibadan a day earlier noted that the situation in which a high percentage of inmates are those awaiting trials is not good for the judicial system.
Addressing the released inmates on behalf of the CJ, Justice Iyabo Yerima urged the beneficiary of the freedom to be of good conduct and not commit any crime that would bring them back to the prisons, pointing out that such would mean taking the mercy and favour showed on them by the CJ for granted.