By Usman Shuaibu with agency report
The Edo State Government has granted clemency and parole to 84 inmates in various prison formations in the state, in alignment with the federal government’s commitment to decongest prisons across the country.
Edo State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Yinka Omorogbe, said the move has the backing of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, with the aim of tackling overcrowding in Nigerian prisons.
Mr Omorogbe said the state government in conjunction with the Attorney General of the Federation and a donor agency raised N9 million to secure the release of the prisoners, who could not meet their bail conditions due to their lowly status.
According to her: “the high number of inmates awaiting trial for crimes ranging from stealing, breaking and entering and other minor offenses, are the major causes of overcrowding. The state government is working hard to decongest and improve the living condition of prisoners as well as ensure proper rehabilitation of the inmates.”
The Edo State Controller of Prisons, Joseph Usendiah, said 23 inmates were being released from the Benin prisons, while 61 inmates are to be released across the various prisons in Edo State, bringing the total number of those affected to 84.
He said the move will help decongest the already overcrowded prisons, as it would help the ministry properly manage resources for the welfare of the remaining inmates.
One of the affected inmates, identified as Mr Efosa, who has been in prison since 2016, thanked the Edo State Government for coming to their rescue. He said he is now a changed man and promised to lead a crime-free life.