The Lagos State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy on Thursday handed an order to the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) for the immediate release of 18 inmates serving life sentences at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison.
The order was handed over to the Service through the State’s Controller of Prisons, Mr Olatunbosun Ladipo after Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode approved the order.
The 18 inmates, who included 15 male and 3 female serving life sentences for various offences, and having spent more than 30 years in incarceration, were recommended for immediate release by the Council on compassionate grounds.
It is understood that the inmates got their freedom having been found to have fulfilled the very stringent conditions for their release.
Chairman of the Council, Oyelowo Oyewo, while speaking at the small handing over ceremony held at the hall of the Kirikiri Maximum Prison, lauded the benevolence of Ambode, in assenting to exercise the prerogative in favour of the recommended inmates.
Represented by Mrs Bolatunmi Animashaun, Oyewo urged the pardoned inmates to turn a new leaf when eventually they are reunited with their families into the larger society, adding that they must steer clear of every temptation that could make them a repeat offender and jeopardize the once in a lifetime opportunity.
Also speaking, the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem encouraged other inmates still serving in the Prison to be of good behaviour and exhibit conducts that could qualify them to benefit from such order.
Kazeem, who was represented by Director of Legislative Drafting in the State’s Ministry of Justice, Mrs Yejide Kolawole advised the inmates to improve themselves, as the application of other inmates eligible for State pardon were still under consideration.
The pardoned inmates were very jubilant and thankful to the Governor for his benevolence in giving them the opportunity of a second chance at living a purposeful life.
They also pledged to be of good behaviour, and to be law abiding citizens as they return back to the larger society.
In his response, the State Controller of Prisons commended Governor Ambode for his efforts at ensuring the well-being of inmates in the State Prisons through the regular assistance.