In exercise of his power, Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Munta Ladipo Abimbola, on Monday, released 58 inmates from the Agodi custodial centre of the Nigerian Correctional Service.
A report by the Nigerian Tribune says 16 were released for health reasons having been ascertained to suffer from life-threatening diseases, 38 were released on compassionate grounds and four were given bail on self-recognition.
Among those released on compassionate grounds were a mother and her teenage daughter, 65 years old Aminat Azeez and her 19 years old daughter, Jamiu Mariam who was accused of stealing money belonging to her boss and sending it to her mother. The two were arraigned on charges bordering on conspiracy and stealing.
While answering questions on what brought them to prison, Mariam said her elderly boss who she works for as a maid saw her crying and asked what was wrong and she informed her that her younger sister was sick and she needed to help her mother.
She said the elderly woman showed her where she kept the money and asked her to take money there when she needs to send money home.
According to her, she sent N35, 000 in installments of N10,000, N5000 and N20, 000 and when there was no money there again, she told the woman but when her children came, they said she’s a thief and asked if she didn’t know that her boss was unwell.
They arrested her and her mother and alleged her of stealing over a million naira and they were both arraigned and remanded in prison since August 15, 2022.
During their incarceration, the woman that gave Mariam out as house help and was collecting her salary also gave out her nine-year-old sister as househelp and refused to stand as surety for mother and daughter to enjoy the bail granted them.
Justice Abimbola ordered that the nine years old child be withdrawn from wherever she is and brought to him as he will take over her care while the mother and sister get rehabilitated.
In his welcome address, the Comptroller of Prison, Sunday A. Ogundipe who described the exercise as historic being his first time of experiencing such, thanked the Chief Judge and his team for harkening to the calls and meeting their needs on the importance of decongesting the prison so that prison facilities will not be overstretched.
He added that the Agodi Custodial center has the capacity to hold only 339 inmates but on Monday morning, it had an open house of 1109 inmates.