The Presidential Committee on Prisons Reform and Decongestion has freed 67 prison inmates and to negotiate release of 88-year-old Abu Dennis from Edo state on account of old age.
The other inmates the committee is seeking their release on account of old age are Timothy Benson, 67, from Ekitti and John Otah, 81 from Delta. All the released and pending inmates were in Kirikiri Medium and Ikoyi Prisons in Lagos state. The committee would write three state governors to grant clemency to the three inmates serving various jail terms in Kirikiri Maximum Prisons on grounds of ill health and age.
The 67 inmates regained their freedom during the Committee’s two-day visit to Lagos State for prison decongestion at the Kirikiri Medium and Maximum Prison as well as the Ikoyi Prison. Modupe Ogundoro, the Chief Press Secretary, Ministry of Justice, revelead on Wednesday in Abuja. She said that the Chairman of the Committee and Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello stated that the committee’s mandate was to inspect the prison facilities in totality. “This includes the environment condition and corrective measures put in place to rehabilitate and re-integrate freed inmates back into the society.”
She said that the inmates regained their freedom following the payment of their fines by the committee and the Lagos State Government as well as some Civil Society Organisations (CSO). The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, (SAN) had explained that the committee was constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari in demonstration of his commitment to prison decongestion nationwide.
Some of those released by the Committee were between the ages of 19 and 63 years and one Okafor, who stole a bag of salt and was released based on ill health. She said that Justice Bello refused to release inmates who were convicted for dealing in hard drugs. “We believe that those who deal in hard drugs should not be sent back into the society. We have decided they should serve their full sentence”.
The Committee on Prisons Reform and Decongestion was inaugurated on Oct. 31 2017 and has so far freed inmates in prisons in the FCT, Kaduna, Kano and Nassarawa among others.