By Samuel Alonge
The five federal prisons in Lagos State are now congested with about 5000 inmates, a quarterly report of the Lagos Criminal Information System (LCIS) has revealed in its latest edition.
The report also revealed that inmates charged with domestic and sexual offences, were more in number among inmates in Lagos prisons. It stated that such suspects were arraigned on defilement, representing 57 per cent; sodomy (22 per cent), and rape (18 per cent).
The LCIS, a databank on all prisons in the state and administered through the office of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, in its report covering June to September 2018, lamented the state of federal prisons in Lagos State, stating, “They are overstretched with about 5,000 inmates.”
The report further revealed that out of the 4,087 capacity of the five federal prisons in the state, actual prison-open-out was 9,303; while the total inmates enrolled on the LCIS system with complete records-including biometrics and photographs-as at September 30, 2018 was 12,439.
“In the period under review, the Federal Prisons’ facilities in Lagos State are overstretched, while the state government, through the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy and the Judiciary, are working with the Lagos State Ministry of Justice to get a list of inmates with minor offences for possible consideration,” the LCIS report stated.
Also in the report, there are 48 inmates with minor offences who have been on the awaiting-trial list for three years and above, as well as 72 juvenile inmates out, of which 15 are in the age bracket of 0 to 14 years, and 57 in the age bracket of 15 to 17 years.
However, in a bid to help de-congest the prisons, the Lagos State Government said it had ensured the issuance of a total of 313 pieces of Legal Advice through the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), “out of a total of 320 police duplicate files received in the last three months.”
A statement by the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem (SAN) said, “The Lagos State Ministry of Justice’s Directorate of Public Prosecution received a total of 320 police duplicate case files and advice has been issued for 313, representing 97 per cent; while seven out of the total number of cases received are pending, representing three per cent.”
Meanwhile, a breakdown of the LCIS report showed that 56 miscellaneous cases (stealing related offences), 95 sexual related offences, 79 robbery cases, 48 fatal motor accident, and 35 homicide cases were received in the period under review.
“There has been improvement of legal representation of inmates facing trial.
“In the last quarter report, 82 per cent of the inmates facing trial did not have legal representation, while in this quarter, that percentage has reduced to 43 per cent,” the report revealed.