Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Olufumilayo Atilade, on Tuesday visited the the 800-capacity Ikoyi Prisons. The facility, which was built in 1955 is harbouring about 2, 358 inmates instead of the supposed 800.
In a statement by the Controller, Mr. Tinuoye Olumide,
“There are so far 321 convicts and about 2,037 awaiting-trial inmates,” he said.
“The capacity of the prison is 800, and about three weeks ago when I came into the prison at about 1a.m, I saw the way the inmates were sleeping, and honestly, I felt pity for them.”
Mr. Tinuoye Olumide therefore called for an upgrade of the four prisons in the state to enhance living condition of inmates.
Olumide commended the chief judge for the visit, which is part of activities mark the commencement of a new legal year in the state.
“I appreciate His lordship for this visit to the prison in this new legal year, and I believe that the year will yield more positive results for us all,” he said.
“The inmates are not kept in the prisons as punishment, but as a correctional centre. If it is possible for the prisons to be upgraded, then, I honestly urge same.”
Olumide also talked on the number of pending cases in courts, adding that it has posed serious problem for the prison authorities as the number had been on the increase.
“Some of these cases end up as pending for three to four years, and the prison authorities have little or nothing to do about it”.
Olumide said the situation had led the prison authorities to set up the “Three R” club aimed at reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration.
“When you go to the maximum prison, you find that some of the inmates on life imprisonment are not just graduates, but also undergoing their master’s degree programmes,” he said.
“This is the result of the reformation programme in the prisons.”
During the visit, a total of 20 awaiting-trial inmates was freed by Justice Atilade in exercise of her constitutional powers.