By Ayodele Popoola
The Chief Judge of Ondo State, Justice Olusegun Odusola, yesterday pardoned eight inmates at the Olokuta Medium Correctional Centre, in Akure.
Odusola ordered the release of the inmates, during a routine visit to the facility in Akure.
Some of the inmates were released for lack of diligent prosecution on the part of the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of the Ondo State Ministry of Justice and on health grounds.
Three out of those who regained their freedom were released unconditionally while the remaining six were set free on bail.
The inmates are, a 45-year-old commercial bus driver, Sunday Dike, who has been standing trial for almost six years; 33-year-old Kayode Alonge, standing trial for stealing in the past five years, while Adeola Mabogunge charged with stealing, was released unconditionally.
Other five inmates released on various bail conditions are; Samuel Adedayo, who has been in custody for stealing plantain, was released on on critical health grounds, and granted N20,000 bail with one surety in like sum. Others granted bail are Abubakar Sege, Mohammed Warrigbe, Umar Majo Geje, Ardu Baba, in the sum of N500,000 each with one surety each in like sum.
The Chief Judge said the need to decongest prisons made it imperative to release some inmates who had been in custody for many years without trial.
Odusola said inmates who would be set free include; those who are seriously sick, detained for a long time and those who deserved to be released .
The CJ, therefore ruled that the inmates could not be kept perpetually in prison custody while police are still investigating their cases, saying it was unlawful.
He ordered that any inmate suffering from a serious ailment like Hepatitis A, B, and HIV , including mental situation, should be taken to the hospital for medical attention.
The Chief Judge implored the released inmates to turn over a new leaf and not allow the economic situation of the country deter them from making legitimate livelihoods.
Speaking earlier, the State Comptroller of Corrections, Mr Jude Agboje, said the poor living condition of the inmates awaiting trial and those who have been convicted was occasioned by congestion.
He called on the appropriate authorities to urgently look into the living conditions in prisons to prevent outbreaks of diseases among inmates and also made a call for the decentralization of the criminal court.