Chief Justice of Oyo State, Justice Badejoko Adeniji, has condemned the situation of prisons in Nigeria, warning that congestion in the facilities could lead to jail break.
The state’s first female CJ said this during a visit to the Medium Security Prison in Abolongo, Oyo town, because of the order of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar, that all state prisons be decongested. She expressed shock that 327 inmates could be housed in a facility that was originally meant for 160 inmates exposing the possible consequences of the situation.
She said, “This prison is not expected to have more than 160 inmates but look at what we have here, 327 inmates. I tell you, if not for good management, there would have been jail break. So, I really commend the Deputy Controller of Prisons who is in charge here.”
Adeniji said her mission was to decongest the prison by releasing some of the inmates who had served more than the prison term for which their crime could possibly attract and who were also found worthy of being set free. However, the CJ could only release one inmate after going through the inmates’ files. Each of the prisoners appeared before the CJ given the opportunity to defend themselves.
Adamo Kazeem, who had been standing trial for rape for the past one year and three months was the only inmate to be set free. Adeniji explained that Kazeem had to be pardoned because his case file stated that the Investigating Police Officer and complainant had not been appearing in court since trial commenced 15 months ago. She said although some of the cases were yet to be brought to court for four years because they were still awaiting legal advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecution, Adeniji said she could not release the inmates concerned because of the weight of their crimes, which included armed robbery and murder.
“Most of them are answering for capital offenses and most of those cases are fatal. We have to wait until the cases are disposed of,” she explained.