The Chief Judge of Oyo State, Munta Abimbola, on Thursday released 37 inmates in Abolongo Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) in the state.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the chief judge with members of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law Monitoring Committee had on Wednesday “freed 32 inmates in Agodi Correctional Centre in Ibadan making it a total of 69 inmates released in Oyo State.’’
Mr Abimbola said a total of 123 cases were attended to by the committee in Abolongo and the committee unanimously freed 37 inmates.
“Seven of them were released on medical ground, two convict freed on grounds of good behaviour, two released on bail and a legal practitioner released on self-recognition.
“The remaining 25 were released on compassionate ground.
“What happened today was practically as a result of inefficiency of our trial process and we need to be alive to our responsibilities’’, he said.
The chief judge urged the judiciary, prosecutors, and the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) to be passionate and dedicated to duty and ensure matters were dispensed with speedily.
He cautioned lawyers against seeking for unnecessary adjournment in court.
The chief judge said that the judiciary in the state was doing its best but needed to improve in order to fast track justice delivery.
Mr Abimbola said the visit of the committee was not just to release any inmate but those deserving of the gesture.
“It is fundamental to decongest the facility but we are not going to release those not worthy to be released.
“If offender cannot refrain from committing offence, we have the power to keep such a criminal from the society’’, the chief judge said.
Earlier, the Oyo State Controller of Nigerian Correctional Services, Tosin Akinrojomu, said the capacity of Abolongo NCS was 160.
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Mr Akinrojomu, represented by Deputy Controller of Corrections, Bamidele Bello, said the total inmates currently at the centre was 452.
The controller said the number of awaiting trial was 252 while 66 were convicts.
He said this was an indication that the facility was overcrowded and called on the committee to release those worthy to be released so as to decongest the centre.
NAN reports that those in company of the Chief judge are Adegboye Gbolagunte, Olajumke Aiki and Muhammed Owolabi, all justices.