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Sunday, 14 July 2013

Awaiting Trial: 292 Inmates Languish In Kirikiri

At least 292 inmates are currently languishing in Kirikiri Prison while awaiting trial in Lagos, southwest Nigeria.
Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye disclosed this on Thursday at the monthly briefing of the Ministry of Justice at the Government Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.
According to Ipaye, the Office of Public Defender, OPD, visited the Kirikiri Prison last month and discovered that lots of inmates were still awaiting trial and that many of them had no case file.
The Attorney General disclosed that at the Medium Kirikiri Prison for female, 171 of the 226 female inmates in the prison were still awaiting trial, with only 54 inmates already convicted.
“At the Maximum Prison, we discovered that
121 inmates are still awaiting trial for various offences. It is important to note that the great majority of these inmates have no file or report awaiting legal advice in the Ministry of Justice.
“In those cases, our OPD and Directorate of Citizens Right, DCR, have started filing necessary applications before the courts to ensure that the deserving ones are released or prosecuted without further delay,” he stated.
The commissioner also disclosed that 1,764 minor convicts had been made to undergo community service such as sweeping the street, clearing drainages, among others, saying that these people could have been sent to jail under the old system.
“Our aim with the community service is restorative justice through rehabilitation and restoration of offenders. In the month of May, 2013, we had 230 completed cases and in June, we had182 completed cases,” he said.
Ipaye added that between January and June 2013, the Directorate of Public Prosecution, DPP, received 657 case files from the police, saying that in the same period the directorate issued legal advice in respect of 757 case files.
“The difference in the number is a pointer to the fact that we have succeeded in clearing the backlog of legal advice that was usually the norm in the directorate,” he explained.
On dispute resolution, the Attorney General said the Citizens Mediation Centre, CMC, as at last month handled 2,613 cases, which represented 10 percent increase from the 2,372 cases handled in the month of May.
He disclosed that the monetary value of settlement achieved by the centre on behalf of clients was now N64.55 million, stressing that the centre was set up for the purpose of promoting the use and practice of mediation as an alternative to litigation in conflict resolution among the people of Lagos State.
Ipaye debunked claims in the media that under-aged children were being kept in prisons across Lagos State, saying such cases never existed in the state after investigation was carried out.
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