The Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Munta Ladipo Abimbola, on Wednesday, declared that it is important to curb the society from trampling over the rights of inmates in correctional centres as provided under the Administration of Criminal Justice Law.
Justice Abimbola made this declaration at the Abolongo Medium Security Correctional Center in Oyo, during the concluding part of a three-day visit to correctional homes in Oyo State as part of prison decongestion efforts.
The Chief Judge stated that no one should be unduly incarcerated by long trials and no one is above the law, reiterating that “we will exercise our power in accordance with the law. The judiciary is not afraid of doing its work.
“We are here today not to play or for leisure but for serious work as demanded by the law. The exercise of this power is not arbitrary but grounded in the law and whatever we do here has legitimate stand under the provisions of the law,” he added.
The prison authorities presented a list of 300 inmates for consideration and factors that guided the consideration of compassion includes ill health; it was discovered that many of the sick inmates suffer from septecimea disease and tuberculosis and had to be released before they infect others.
Explaining why they must be considered for mercy, Justice Ladiran Akintola stated that the sick inmates can only be able to stand trial and the wages of their offence if they are alive.
And after thorough consideration and interview of inmates and assessment of their cases and charges proffered against the 300 inmates on the list, the Chief Judge in the exercise of the powers vested in him released the 75 people that were found worthy of compassion based on ill health, prolonged incarceration for minor offences and those that are underage who were paroled on the recommendations of the Comptroller of Correctional Service in line with provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law.
The exercise however ended abruptly when the process became rowdy for reasons of security and safety.
Speaking on why the exercise came to an abrupt end, Justice Akintola said “the exercise had to come to an abrupt end, only God knows how many more people would have been accommodated by the Honourable Chief Judge but for the rowdiness that halted the process.
“And we won’t blame the inmates who had been there for so long hoping that one day, salvation will come their way; they saw today as the day of their salvation, unfortunately, for inexplicable reasons, it eluded them but all things considered, it was a successful exercise,” he said.