Ikoyi Prison-Comptroller says 800-capacity prisons now accommodate 2,358 inmates
Tinuoye Olumide has called for the upgrade of the four prisons in the state to enhance the living condition of inmates.
For the umpteenth time, the intractable problem of overcrowding in Lagos prisons came to the fore on Tuesday when the state prison authority said about 2,358 inmates now use the Ikoyi 800-capacity facility.
The Comptroller, Mr Tinuoye Olumide , disclosed this during a visit by the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Olufumilayo Atilade , to the prison built in 1955.
“There are so far 321 convicts and about 2,037 awaiting-trial inmates.
“The capacity of the prison is 800, and about three weeks ago when I came into the prison at about 1.00 a.m, I saw the way the inmates were sleeping, and honestly, I felt pity for them,” he said.
He, therefore, called for the upgrade of the four prisons in the state to enhance the living condition of inmates.
The News Agency 0f Nigeria (NAN) reports that the visit is part of activities to mark the commencement of a new legal year in the state.
Olumide commended the chief judge for the routine visit to the prisons which, he said, had facilitated the release of many inmates.
He urged the judiciary to continue to work tirelessly in a bid to decongest the prisons.
“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 added:“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 bemoaned 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 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.
“This is the result of the reformation programme in the prisons,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that during the visit, Justice Atilade freed a total of 20 awaiting-trial inmates in exercise of her constitutional powers.