Judiciary

Oyo CJ Grants 45 Inmates Amnesty

The Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Muntar Abimbola, has ordered the release of 45 inmates from the Agodi Ibadan and Abolongo Oyo Custodial Centres of the Nigerian Correctional Service, NCS, in efforts to prevent the outbreak of coronavirus in prison.

The released inmates were granted mercy after the Monitoring Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice Law duly considered the need to decongest the prisons in the face of the security challenges being faced across the state and the rights of individuals involved in matters.

Among them was a man whose case had been suspended for a long time because prosecution witnesses refused to show up to testify.

Condition for their release included, inmates awaiting trial, inmates that had spent six years and above, sick convicted inmates, sick awaiting trial inmates and awaiting trial inmates with minor and bail-able offences. 

The committee also concluded to give them financial support to tide them over during this period.

Speaking on the exercise, Justice Munta Abimbola said the committee went through the list of one hundred and fifty  seven inmates  considered for the release and carefully  selected those qualified for the release.

Justice Abimbola therefore urged them not to go back to crime. 

For the first list of inmates that had spent more than six years, what we decided to do was get in touch with those in charge because most of the cases are part heard before the courts and we felt what would be appropriate is not to scuttle the trial process but fast track it and give necessary assistants to the court to ensure speedy conclusion of the matters within the shortest time possible.

 “After going through the list that contains minor and bail-able offences and by consensus of the monitoring committee of ACJL that most of the cases were minor offences that even if trial had gone on and they were convicted, they would have completed the terms of imprisonment, we thought it was appropriate to let them go, so 45 were given the prerogative of mercy. One of them was released because both prosecution and defense attested to the fact that witnesses haven’t been showing up. We feel it isn’t necessary to continue to detain such person because he can’t be convicted out of the blues without witness testimony,” the CJ said.

Sunday Ogunyemi

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