LAGOS—One Okafor, suffering from hernia and serving jail term for stealing a bag of salt was among 66 prison inmates released, yesterday, by Presidential Advisory Committee on Prisons Reforms and Decongestion.
The committee under the chairmanship of Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Justice Ishiaq Bello, released the inmates serving various jail terms for their inability to pay the imposed fines.
Their release was sequel to the payment of the fines imposed on them by Lagos State government and some civil society organisations and on medical grounds. The inmates were released from Kirikiri Medium Security Prison, Female Prison also in Kirikiri and Badagry Prison.
Okafor, suffering from hernia and a big cancerous lump on his left buttocks, was among the 37 released from the Medium Security Prison, while nine inmates from Badagry Prison had their release orders signed by the chairman of the committee.
Six prison inmates in Kirikiri Maximum Prison whose imprisonment carried options of fine were denied freedom.
Justice Bello said his committee decided against visiting the Maximum Security Prison because they found out that they were jailed for dealing in hard drugs.
“We believe that those who deal in hard drug should not be sent back into the society. We have decided they should serve their full sentence,” he said.
Also a prison inmate who was sentenced to six years with N415,000 option of fine, missed freedom because he was on anti-intro viral drugs.
“You look healthy, agile and handsome. It is our decision that you should not be sent back to the society so that you don’t pass it around,“ Justice Bello said.
Earlier, Justice Bello, during a chat with the media said the visit of the committee was not only to de-congest the prisons but also to look at the conditions under which inmates live.
He said the intention of government was to improve conditions of the prisons since they are meant to be correctional centres.