The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke on Tuesday pardoned one Lucky Nelson, an inmate of Kirikiri prison suffering from Tuberculosis and diabetes, and who had been in prison custody since 2012 over an allegation of obtaining money by false pretence.
Exercising her powers to grant amnesty during a recent visit to the Prison, Justice Oke freed him on compassionate ground, saying that “Pursuant to the provisions of Sections 1(1) of the Criminal Justice (Release from Custody) Act, 2007 as well as Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution, Lucky Nelson is hereby released from prison custody today February 20, 2018. I want you to go out there, be of good behaviour and sin no more”.
The Chief Judge could not, however, release about 14 other inmates of the same prison whose cases were forwarded to her, because they failed to meet the criteria for pardon. Similarly, about 10 nursing-mother inmates also failed to meet the criteria for release during the visit by the Chief Judge.
Speaking to newsmen during the visit, Justice Opeyemi Oke stated that the purpose of her visit is not just to release inmates but to ensure that any inmate released deserves pardon. According to her, “14 cases were presented to me for consideration but after interviewing them, I found that some of them could not meet up with the criteria for pardon. It is very unfortunate but we must follow due process of releasing any inmate in the prison. Remember that members of the society must also be protected so we don’t just free any inmate without following due process,” she said.
Earlier the Deputy Comptroller Prison, DCP Oluwaniyi Emmanuel of Kirikiri Medium Prison, called on Lagos State government to reverse its increment on fine stipulated by the State Task Force Mobile Court saying it has contributed to overcrowding of the facilities. Responding, Justice Opeyemi Oke assured the prison authorities that prison decongestion is one of the key programmes of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration to rid the state of crime.