The Lagos State government has assured that succour will soon come the way of Ikoyi Prison inmates unjustly detained after random raids by the Police in different parts of the State.
The Director, Lagos Directorate of Citizens’ Rights, Mrs. Omololu Adesina, gave the assurance during a recent visit to the prison after being informed that over 500 inmates were unjustly detained, with a good number of them not having legal representation.
She decried the situation where several inmates in Ikoyi Prison were randomly arrested across Lagos and detained by Court Order without the knowledge of their parents, guardians and family.
Adesina stated that it is the duty of Directorate of Citizens’ Right to intervene in such situation and make necessary recommendations to the Law Courts, not only to ensure speedy dispatch of such cases but ensure that justice is served and innocent individuals are not incarcerated.
“This is why our Office collaborates with other Agencies of the State Ministry of Justice such as the Office of the Public Defender to defend the defenceless and offer non-custodian sentences where offenders plead guilty especially people that have no money to defend themselves”, the Director asserted.
She remarked that many inmates would have been in prison for a longer period than necessary if the State government was not rendering such services through the Directorate.
Adeshina explained that “The gesture is not in any way meant to encourage crime, but on the other hand, we don’t want them to be awaiting trial perpetually and thereby adding to the problem of prison congestion. If they are guilty, they will be convicted. We are not supposed to prejudge them before the trial. If the court believes that they are guilty, they will be thus sentenced.”
While noting that the Directorate for Citizens’ Rights is ever ready to attend to any form of injustice or violation of the citizens’ fundamental rights, she said the visit is one of the quarterly activities embarked upon to see the appropriateness of the detention of inmates and make necessary application to the courts.