Edo State government has pardoned 84 prison inmates in a gesture that also saw an unnamed donor agency, in conjunction with the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, raised the sum N9m to secure the release of the prisoners who could not meet their bail conditions.
The State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, who made this disclosure in a statement issued in Benin on Tuesday, said the benefiting inmates were from various prison formations in the State.
She said the pardon was in alignment with the Federal Government’s commitment to decongest prisons across the country.
She added that the move has the backing of office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, with the aim of tackling overcrowding in Nigerian Prisons.
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.”
Edo State Comptroller 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 simply identified as Efosa, who has been in prison since 2016, thanked the state government for coming to their rescue. He said he is now a changed man and promised to lead a crime-free life.