Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade, the Chief Judge of Lagos State, on Thursday granted amnesty to another 43 juvenile offenders incarcerated at Ikoyi Prisons.
Justice Atilade, in a bid to address the problem of underage children locked up in prisons across the state, had visited no fewer than four prisons in August to free the juvenile offenders.The chief judge had on August 1 set free 80 underage males from the Badagry Prisons and on August 14, she also released 13 female juvenile offenders from the Kirikiri Female Prisons as well as 49 juvenile male inmates from the Kirikiri Medium Prisons.
The chief judge had on August 1 set free 80 underage males from the Badagry Prisons and on August 14, she also released 13 female juvenile offenders from the Kirikiri Female Prisons as well as 49 juvenile male inmates from the Kirikiri Medium Prisons.
The juvenile inmates, who are below 18 years, were arrested and prosecuted by the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Offences for hawking, breach of peace among others.
They are serving various prison terms after failing to pay fines imposed on them by the mobile courts Mrs. Atilade to 185. She had also on August 14, freed 67 adult inmates who had various physical disabilities and other health challenges.
In her address, Mrs. Atilade said her amnesty exercise was in line with the Lagos State Government’s zero tolerance for children in prison.
“The Lagos State Government has zero tolerance for children in prisons, children have no business being in adult prisons.
“This exercise is in continuation of the prison decongestion exercise we have embarked upon based on a petition we received from Mrs Modupe Olubamowo, the Head of Prison Ministry, Fountain of Life Church.
“So far, we have been able to secure the release of 80 inmates from Badagry and 127 from the male and female wing of Kirikiri prisons,” she said.
Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, Head of the Prison Decongestion Committee, in her speech, applauded the chief judge’s efforts in the month of August in decongesting the prisons of underage offenders.
She said: “The month of August has been a golden one in the calendar of the judiciary; we got alerted to the existence of children in prisons.
“On August 1, the chief judge released 80 children from Badagry Prison. Again, on August 14, underage children numbering 62 were freed from the Kirikiri Women and Medium Security Prisons.”
Admonishing the juveniles before they were freed, Justice Yetunde Idowu, the Head of the Family Court, emphasised the need for quality education for children to reduce vices.
“No child below the age of 18 should be in prison, they have zero business being in prison, the police and the task force magistrates should ensure that this abnormality does not continue.”
Freeing the elated underage children, Justice Atilade gave them a stern warning to be of good behaviour and not return to the prison, telling them to “go and sin no more.”
The 43 juvenile offenders were immediately handed over to officials of the Ministry of Youth and Social Welfare, 12 of the underage children are to be sent to Adigbe Foster Home, Abeokuta, Ogun by the Ministry officials for rehabilitation and supervision the release of the inmates is in line with Section 1 (1) of the Criminal Justice Release from Custody Special Provisions Act, Laws of the Federation 2007
The release of the inmates is in line with Section 1 (1) of the Criminal Justice Release from Custody Special Provisions Act, Laws of the Federation 2007